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.