Friday, July 18, 2014

Those big guys on the mountain

I'm in awe of sculptors. How they can crack open a rock to release art is beyond my comprehension.  When I crack open a rock, it just cracks.

Michelangelo is no doubt the master, creating masterpieces so detailed and realistic they look as if they could walk off their pedestal.

But it is one thing to release David from a block of marble. It's quite another to release four humongous presidents from the side of a mountain.

The mountain and the presidents
We visited Mt. Rushmore today.  It was a return for me, bringing back good memories of the time Garrett, our whippet Saffron and I drove across country to start our new life in Missouri.

Garrett was in high school and, as is the requirement of all young men, not enthralled with his father's ideas.  But he agreed that Mt. Rushmore was worth the two-hour detour from our trip.

500mm - Photographic nosiness
Cecile was still working, so missed that edition of the Roadtrip. And she missed Mt. Rushmore.

Since Garrett and I were there, the National Park Service has expanded the parking and visitor areas. But the main attraction is still the four big guys on the hill.

Cecile was duly impressed, especially when she saw how high on the mountain the faces were.  From the pictures in books, the presidents might have been carved from a big rock bluff closer to ground level.  For my part, I got a bit carried away with a 500 mm lens and ended up looking up presidential nostrils.

It is beyond me how Gutzon Borglum looked at a mountain and saw Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln.  And then how he marshaled a crew of miners and loggers to blast bits of the mountain off with dynamite until they could see his vision.
Big George

Like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Monument and the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Rushmore is one of those icons of nationhood that every American should see at least once.

But you still can't expect me to look at a rock and see the next great piece. I'll leave that to the masters.

Yes, let's take a Rushmore selfie!
The gala entrance to the mountain overlook

The path to greatness is well-trod at Rushmore

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