April 11th, 2011


Poem for Monday, VMFA & Richmond Gardens

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I spent a gorgeous mid-70-degree Sunday in Richmond with my family, dementordelta, and another friend. Daniel was pretty fried from getting almost no sleep at the robotics competition (which he enjoyed immensely), so he barely spoke until about 5 p.m., though Adam was quite talkative, particularly since our first activity was a trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for the Picasso exhibit of works on loan from the Musee National Picasso in Paris. Adam dislikes art museums in general, but he has particular contempt for modern and contemporary painting and sculpture, so he kept up a running commentary of all of Picasso's perceived failures and there was no point in trying to discuss the fact that traditional representation was the opposite of what Picasso aimed to accomplish. The exhibit was so enormous that it was hard to take in all at once -- I will confess that my interest in modernist art has much more to do with how it influenced literature than in the art for its own sake, but I enjoyed it a lot. And the museum has a restaurant with excellent red pepper soup and cheese sandwiches, so lunch, at least, was a hit with my kids.

In the afternoon we went to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which was a delight. Richmond is about two weeks ahead of DC in terms of flowers, so there were hundreds of tulips and many redbuds and some azaleas. There are also fountains, ponds, a children's garden with raised walkways, the late 1800s house built by Ginter, and a conservatory that currently has a beautiful orchid exhibit. But the real highlight for me were the animals in the various gardens -- the turtles in the West Island Garden, the snake on the railing of the bridge from the Japanese Garden, the robin in a nest in the Herb Garden, among others. Adam got to test his macro lens on inchworms, bees, and lots of tiny blooms. We all had dinner together at a Mexican restaurant where we ate a great many chips and salsa, then ended up taking home the most excellent leftover enchiladas del pueblo because I couldn't eat any more. Evening TV was The Borgias, in which, like The Tudors, it's really hard to root for anyone because they're all so selfish and horrible!

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