Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stars in my eyes

Well I will be damned.

I shouldn't curse myself, but whoa. Or maybe the right word is wow.

Today at the last second a client realized he was too sick to come for massage, hence I had the late afternoon unexpectedly to myself. Of course I put my camera in my pocket and set out.

I watch the Statue of Freedom these days. I pay attention. It's not like I've been trying to coincide with a time/space during which the statue's crown of nine stars reflects sunlight. I tried so hard after the initial vision, but to no avail. A friend said, to have seen it once: deyanu. I took his point. After that I became humble, I let go of trying, I relinquished the idea that the experience could be repeated on purpose. No. I realized at last that seeing the illuminated stars is less about scientific accuracy, more about serendipity, in the category of you can't make this stuff up. I let go.

Nevertheless, I've kept a close eye on the statue ever since. There I sat today, as usual on the steps facing the National Mall. As often happens during tourist season, I was in awe, yet simultaneously appalled, by the number of people and vehicles out there between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. Yikes.

I don't blame people for wanting to visit this beautiful, powerful, wounded city, but as I often say, it's hard to share the nation's capital with the rest of the nation. It is, believe me.

There I was, staring out at the mall, horrified and intrigued when, at some point - for reasons I can't explain - I stood up and turned around. I never do that as I really don't like looking at the Capitol from the west. There are too many stairs, too much building, not enough dome. I love the east side, the Capitol Hill side, of the building. But today I turned around and looked - et voila! 

Eyes in the back of her head, I kept thinking.

In all honesty, I'm glad it isn't extremely rare to see one of the Statue's stars reflecting sunlight. I'm glad those stars light up on a regular basis, whether or not anyone notices. The headdress of the Statue of Freedom sparkles, in slow motion, on sunny days. That can't help but be a good thing, don't you think?

Even better, I'm now aware of the possibility of this rare, but not too rare, occurrence. If I remember to look up when I walk past, it's possible I'll see this again and again. What a beautiful possibility!

As if I didn't already love the Capitol dome beyond all reason, I now have a brand new reason to be enchanted.



Steve Reed said...

Wow, there ARE a lot of people out there on that mall. Glad your stars returned! The Washington Monument looks so weird with all that scaffolding. When is it supposed to be fully repaired?

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm sure it will take years to fix the damage. Things never move quickly here as I'm sure you've noticed.

Yes, many people. Too many.

Rebecca Clayton said...

I love these pictures you're showing us!

In my years in the city, the Natural History Museum was the center of my focus. I never really approached the Capitol, although I was a compulsive Washington Post follower of political drama. The Capitol was a great, glowing thing in the distance.

ellen abbott said...

How very cool. But as with many others things, it doesn't ha
Pen until you quit trying to make it happen.

Christine said...

“Know that everything is in perfect order whether you understand it or not.”
― Valery Satterwhite

I am delighted that you have had the opportunity to experience such a wonderful sight once more,you are indeed blessed

junkthief said...

I live in a city that is just as iconic but not as monumental, but I still look up a lot. What I see tends to be different -- more cartouches and ornamental details on the second and third floors. But I am always glad that I did.