ON THE COVER
The Backyard Swing
The classic outdoor swing has entertained children and their families for generations. Suspended just-so from the branch of an old apple tree or tall oak, the plain wooden swing has provided hours of playtime and a place for us to enjoy being outdoors and discovering nature.
A tree swing can be both relaxing and exciting. It provides isolation, a rhythmic activity that helps suspend the chatter of the mind. It builds a sense of community, providing a place to gather for old and young. They are a place to learn cooperation and strengthen friendships. They are a place to experience happiness. They are a place to be reflective.
For those of us lucky enough to call the Commonwealth of Virginia home, we are steeped in a long-standing tradition of history and beauty. In a contemplative letter in 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I am as happy no where else and in no other society, and all my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello. Too many scenes of happiness mingle themselves with all the recollections of my native woods and fields, to suffer them to be supplanted in my affection by any other.” From Jefferson’s stately Monticello to James Madison’s beloved Montpelier, the allure of living in Virginia has been attracting people from all over the world for centuries.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, so poignantly comments, “Monticello, [Jefferson’s] plantation near Charlottesville, was the center of Jefferson’s world. To understand Jefferson, one must understand Monticello; it can be seen as his autobiographical statement.” Monticello was originally a 5,000-acre estate that encompassed a house, a farm, a plantation, a small mountain, and a largely diverse community. It captured the interests, ideals, and ambitions of Jefferson, who began building the home when he was 26 years old on land he inherited from his father, Peter Jefferson, in 1764.
The house itself was first built as a two-story, eight-room house. The inside of the house looked much like a typical plantation home of the time, but the outward appearance indicated Jefferson’s reliance on Palladio’s rules of classical architecture. They also constructed a dome over the West front, the first dome to be placed atop a private house in America. Inside and outside, Jefferson incorporated design elements of the famous buildings of antiquity. By making references to ancient Rome, Jefferson was architecturally drawing parallels between the New Republic and the Roman Republic. By the time Jefferson retired from the Presidency in 1809, the remodeling of Monticello was complete and the house today has been restored to this time period.
What could be more idyllic than a hike through the beautiful Shenandoah National Park? The second annual Shenandoah Scramble allows participants to do just that while simultaneously raising money for its official philanthropic partner, the Shenandoah National Park Trust. Participants will receive a t-shirt and will choose one of several guided, group hikes of varying length and difficulty through the park, enjoying a pre-hike group breakfast as well as a post-hike celebration with refreshments and music.
This fun, outdoor event is the perfect way to enjoy Virginia’s lovely fall weather, so mark your calendars for September 22, and put your team together today!
By Louise B. Parsley
“Why didn’t anyone tell me when we had kids that half of their genes would be yours?” clamored The Bob. (I don’t want to point any fingers, but someone wasn’t listening in tenth grade biology). He clamors a lot. He clamors when “my” kids take the road less traveled—mistake the baptismal font as a garbage can, use his tied for dog leashes and turn up the volume on their iPod when he preaches on the value of listening. He clamors when “my” kids forget to do their taxes, pay parking fines, or shower.
But The Bob totally combusts when one of “my” kids announces they want to travel the world. Hanging onto his wallet, he spews to me “Are they trading their internal organs for frequent flyer miles?” the last time our son busted a move, he had a one-way ticket in hand. To Colombia. The Bob waved goodbye, wiping tears of joy from his eyes– thinking he meant the grad school.
I don’t know about “his” almost-thirty-something kids, but “mine” are used to The Bob grouching about their leaving home. “You have a perfectly nice room down the hall and the bills are paid,” he reasons. But his disapproval serves as their jet fuel…to the Outback, a kibbutz in Israel, a lean-to in Tanzania. Our most recent college grad announced that, as a lift-off present, she wants to go to South East Asia.
My response: “So do I.” His: “Did you win the @%# lottery?”
As featured in the December/January 2011-12 issue of albemarle Magazine
Special Section: Giving, Volunteering, and Nonprofit Service to Our Community
Our area nonprofit organizations touch our daily lives in countless ways: assistance and caring for our most vulnerable people; education and mentoring of youth and adults; artistic and cultural enrichment; protection and preservation of our natural and historic resources; spiritual and religious fulfillment; and many other vital services to our community.
albemarle magazine recognizes the many ways in which nonprofits build personal connections, enhance communities, and strengthen lives. All across the United States and especially in our local community, the lives of individuals have been touched—or will be touched—in some way by a non-profit organization.
The following section contains a sampling of the numerous worthy charities, services, and organizations in our surrounding communities. Nonprofits are essential to our quality of life. Find an organization from the list and choose to give, volunteer, or serve. Your contribution large or small, can really make a difference.
Images from The Holsinger Studio Collection Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, 434-924-3025, www2.lib.virginia.edu/small/