Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dance of the Seven Veils

The veil of summer in this midatlantic swamp is impenetrable, at least to what they call the "naked" eye. When fall arrives, the landscape transforms completely.

Hedges turn from solid green cubes to layers of brown lace. The trees, so full and round in summer, shake off their green petticoats. What's underneath all those leaves is an intricate network of trunks and branches, beautiful in a completely different way. Also revealed on Capitol Hill, of course, are lots of charming architectural details hidden during summer by the trees. At mid-winter I can see the Capitol from all over the Hill, something that never happens in summer. I can even see the Washington Monument. It's very cool.

Streets that are dark with shade in summer are filled with sunshine during the winter months. Tenth Street NE between Constitution and Mass Avenue is a block that feels like a convertible. During summer, there's a lid over the whole block, a roof of leaves. In winter, the top is down - the difference is dramatic. I love that.

The sky gets clearer, too, when the humidity drops. Though we never get a dark sky in the middle of DC, in mid-winter, it's possible, on certain nights, to see a few stars. Last night I saw Orion around 8:00 p.m. Also visible were Mars, Venus and the moon, as well as about 20 other stars. That's a lot of stars for DC.

All four seasons are beautiful and entrancing. I love the quiet month of January, so often called the "dead" of winter. Cold, dark ... monochromatic? Yes. Winter is anything but dead, though. I love winter.


Anonymous said...

monochromatic and stunning. the tree photo is a knock-out.

Barbara said...

It is amazing what a difference leaves make. In summer we can barely see the houses behind ours. In winter they are all too clear.

I made an interesting observation today. The deciduous trees that still have lots of (brown) leaves are dead! I guess the leaves just get stuck when the tree dies.

d. chedwick bryant said...

Bare trees are beautiful. Laced with snow is nice too!

I love the sky above the Cap. dome.

Steve said...

Me too, Reya!

rothko said...

I love winter, too. Especially winter in DC. I miss it.

BTW, are you a Tom Robbins fan? Your title made me think of Skinny Legs and All.

Gary said...

What beautiful writing Reya.

I love winter too!

Squirrel said...

I could use a little snow with my cold.

other than that, I love winter hats and coats and boots so I'm fine.

have you tried putting up a new avatar?

kimy said...

wonderful post to sing the praises of such an under-appreciated season - I'll take winter over summer anytime!

thanks. adore the tree and the clouds in the two photos.

m.a. said...

Awesome. I can't wait to see if you got any pictures of the snow. :) hint hint.

I'll try to take some too, this afternoon/evening.

Reya Mellicker said...

Rothko - where are you? How did I lose my connection to your blog? That's just ... wrong! Of course I'm a Tom Robbins fan! Of course!

We had snow then sleet then rain then ice then big snowflakes, now just rain. It's a slushy mess out there, but even so I enjoyed my walk home. It wasn't windy or too cold, and I have waterproof hulkin trail runner shoes, so slush hardly even slows me down.

Thanks, ya'all! Your opinions mean a lot to me. Thank you!

robin said...

Barbara - In California the Black Oaks, which have points on their lobes, hold tenaciously to their leaves - like the tatty tweeds of a shabby gentility - until the winter storms finally cleanse their limbs. Not sure how the eastern species handles their couture. I love their muscular and jagged silhouettes when they come completely into the season.

Reya Mellicker said...

Hi Robin! How nice to hear from you. Some trees here hang on to their leaves till spring, others drop them all by Christmas. Some are dead, some alive. Variety is the spice of life in DC. We're going to have a hard freeze tonight - down below 20 F. Fortunately clothing technology means I can navigate through the windchill in comfort and even in style. I'm almost looking forward to it. Love to you, Robin and to Rocky, too. Happy 2008!

hele said...

The tree photo is amazingly beautiful. I love the way the cloud and the branches follow each other's shapes.