June 15, 2011
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The pieces begin to come together when you visit the place. Jefferson,
the philosopher scientist, up on his mountain, far from the fray,
turning it all over in his mind and writing letters. At Williamsburg,
in Philadelphia, Paris, New York, and Washington D.C., his body was
there but his heart, no doubt, was out here in Albemarle County,
with a panoramic view of the world below him.
The shuttle driver bringing us down the hill after the last tour,
slowed as we passed the little cemetary to tell us that some of Jefferson's
descendants can still be buried there.
What about descendents of his mistress? Em asked.
"Hemmings? No, they were property, not family. So they
can't be buried there."
An awkward silence, and then Em: Wow, that's cold.