Well-worn steps. I added my footfalls to their wear. How many people had walked those marble steps before?
By their wear, proof that marble is softer than granite or other stone types typically used for stair treads. Marble, whitest kind available when that building was constructed. Imported from Italy rather than using closer-by supply, because it was whiter. Purer I suppose …
Those stairs, where so many great men and far fewer women trod over time, at the Supreme Court of the United States. One of the tourist hoard that day, witnessing so much attention to detail, preservation of history, reverence for truth and fairness there, massive edifice of offices and public display apropos to its stature, housing judges and staff, but mostly to house just one room. One court room.
No court of public opinion, not an international court, nor a war crimes court – not a regular court or court of appeal. Hold it, it is a court of appeal. Highest in that land called America with all of its not always united fifty states, with its politics and history – would want hard (but not too hard) stone imported from Italy, to make its stair treads. I looked up, at photos and displays, paintings of famous justices and lawyers and displays of history – but mostly I looked down at those marvelous stairs, I looked down in awe and wonder at well-worn steps where citizens climbed to their ultimate arbiter of a case, of some nuance or change to laws and their interpretation. Or not. Climbing those steps without knowing what comes next.
When in session, it is always full. I stood at the rope across the doorway and looked in as so many have, wondering what comes next. It occurs to me, as I write this, I’ve never been inside my country’s supreme court. Sure, I’ve seen it on TV, I’ve stood at its formidable steps but not been inside. Next time I’m in Ottawa, I’m going to check out the stairs over there.
So very, very true. I recently lost an acquaintance to suicide. I did reach out – but not to him, but to the “authority”. Was told “we cannot help unless he asks”. I dropped the ball, and must now live with the fact I could have done more, DM, Calgary, AB