The weather here has been uniformly lovely, with highs in the mid-70’s. Friday was no exception. Arriving at Wilanow was a photographer’s dream of blue skies and puffy white clouds. Wilanow is as advertised, the Versailles of Poland, but a tad more restrained, which I appreciated. Conservators were in the process of discovering and restoring frescos on the ceilings and walls of the formerly open-air porticos. While the castle itself has some wonderful pieces of art, sculpture and furniture, it was the grounds that I loved.
There were, of course, the formal gardens but what I loved more were the wooded grounds along the river. This was a peaceful and quiet place full of the delicate scent of Linden trees. There was careful attention to the pathways, allowing the canopy of branches to shade the way. I could imagine the ladies of the court using these pathways to walk off the rich dinners of the evening before. It was likely one of the very few avenues of exercise open to them. The grounds were an inviting place to rest as well. They were rich in green and birds and butterflies.
Fortified with only a soft serve ice cream cone for lunch, I headed to the Curie Museum back in Old Town, thinking to see the Museum and stay in that area for dinner. Curie’s life moved me as did finally seeing a museum dedicated to a woman. How unquestioningly do people of the world visit museums dedicated to men but never ask, “Where are the women?” There are still men to say to me that they believe women are less able than men in science, art and literature and their argument is, after all, there are so few women who have accomplished compared to men. What a perfect Catch-22. We are urged to do our womanly duty and then belittled for not accomplishing more. I doubt I’ll live to see the day when women are not punished for doing the one deed they cannot (yet) delegate.
Well, Dr. Curie, thank you for accomplishing two Nobel prizes. Thank you for participating in six formerly all-male conferences of scientists, side by side with Einstein, Plank and Heisenberg. Thank you, Warsaw for pride of place and proudly claiming your daughter of science. And I got the t-shirt and will wear it proudly to every place promoting the place of girls in STEM.
Too tired from days of walking, I passed up the Warsaw city museum. Too cultured up already, the city square buskers were enough of a concert for me. It was fun to watch a wedding party spontaneously stay and dance in the square, with the band enthusiastically playing along. There were bride and groom dances, bride and father dance and lots for all the little kids to twirl in circles. Joy and laughter from people who live and love is the best entertainment for a weary body.
What passes next is merely the wrapping up and the going home. It is sitting in another airport waiting for another flight, and another, and another, and another. This is part of the price and the remainder paid upon arrival—laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and work. Perhaps it is time now to give everything up and live as the sparrow and the lilies of the field.