Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yin/Yang, with cat



Most of the houses on Capitol Hill's main drags have smallish front yards. Often those yards are beautifully landscaped, lovingly cared for. George Washington proclaimed that the households on E. Capitol Street were required to keep nice front gardens - to add to our newly won national pride, maybe. I don't know what the consequences were for disobeying George Washington's decree, but I'm glad he did it because the tradition continues even now.

But I also love the alley communities, tiny side streets tucked between the "real" streets of Capitol Hill. These little neighborhoods are quite distinct, mostly paved, for instance. I haven't seen any alley cottages with basements or the usual flight of stairs up to the front porch either. It's a different landscape.

It's fun to suddenly come upon these block-long streets for so many reasons. Maybe because they have less exposure, or because they have to contend with boring garage doors and a whole slew of trash bins, people get a little more creative with paint and adornment than elsewhere on the Hill. Back in the alleys is the only place where you might see a mural, something that's commonplace in San Francisco. Most Hillizens are too conservative to enterain the idea of murals, except for the people who live in the "Deer House" on E. Capitol. Behind the lush foliage of their garden you can see that someone has painted a life-sized trompe d'oeil of an Italian garden on the brick wall of their neighbor's house.

The Yin/Yang effect is always funny to see whether in an alley community or on a main thoroughfare. Do you think they had the painters measure so as to ensure they wouldn't paint a micron of their neighbor's house?

I also like the cat in the window.

10 comments:

Momentary Academic said...

Reya,

You really have a gift. This picture is wonderful. I'm going to have to get a print of this one and the one you sent me made. I will hang them in a place of honor in my apartment.

So much talent.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

The contrasts between suburbs is something quite remarkable, and can speak of many different things and give such insight to a city's people. I loved the photos - particularly the gate - that path and garden beyond just calls to be explored for I'm sure there are stories aplenty there!

Reya Mellicker said...

M.A. - thank you so much. Honestly I am honored.

AVAA: Thank you! The gate in this pic leads to a very magical garden on E. Capitol Street. I love gates, portals, doorways.

Barbara said...

I love communities that give free license to use whatever color strikes your fancy. In places like Old Town and Chautauqua, the colors are somewhat regimented to create an overall effect.

I even love the gates on Capitol Hill. They are all so distinctive in how they open and latch.

Lynne said...

Great shot! I love this! I do think they must have measured very carefully while painting!

Steve said...

Nice! I do love urban cat-in-the-window photos. There's something reassuring about all those thousands and thousands of cats out there, keeping watch from their windowsills. :)

kimy said...

loverly pics. totally agree with reader steve there is something reassuring about cats in windows, I like to think of cats as the canaries of civilization.

speaking of cats, I met two really wise cats today over at junk thief's

Reya Mellicker said...

I love Mr. Junk Thief! I'll have to go have a look at his cats.

lettuce said...

Such a great photo! i like the cat too

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gold Poppy/Gold Puppy -- why didn't I know of the transition earlier! By the way, Reya, I don't know if you've visited my blogger friend The Blue Elephant whose photos and sensibility remind me of yours. Speaking of my cat (sadly he lost his brother a little over a year ago), the Blue Elephant will be watching him for part of the time I am in Catalonia.