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.