Saturday, September 27, 2008

T Jeff's Crib

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden." - Thomas Jefferson, 1811.

Monticello in Italian means "little mountain," and if you were not taken away by the craftsmanship (95% still standing is the original structure) of the mansion, you were sure to admire the secluded view from a top the rolling hillside. Do not get me wrong, the house is great, but it would not be the attraction it is without the landscape surrounding it. As the photos show, we visited on a questionably umbrella needed day. It reminded me of photos I've seen of Scotland (I have not visited but I should because of one word - Braveheart). Monticello is the only house in America on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Other American cultural sites to make the list include: Mesa Verde National Park, Independance Hall, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Statue of Liberty, Chaco Culture, Pueblo de Taos, and La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico. More people have probably seen the seven wonders of the world.

It is ironic that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration that "all men are created equal," yet he was one of the largest slave owners. It took nearly 150 slaves to tend to the large estate of a man who ended the free-trading of slaves from Africa. He also wrote to have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I felt Monticello was a visual replica of this idea. The agricultural and technical theories that were displayed in and outside the house were years ahead of his time. A creative mind that could speak and write in seven different languages. I'm still working on English.