Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sibling Assignment #161: Quiet in the Midst of Constant Noise

Christy gave us siblings a photography and writing assignment to do next.  She raised this question:

When you want to surround yourself with beauty, where do you go?  Take five pictures of that place and share your thoughts on its beauty. 
Christy presented a photographic essay on her gardens and leaving them behind, here, and Carol put together a photo essay of our hometown, Kellogg, Idaho, here.

When the Deke and I decided to move to the greater Washington, D. C. metropolitan suburb-a-maze, it went without saying that we would be leaving behind some of the richest natural beauty found anywhere by saying good-bye to the Willamette Valley, the cities of Eugene and Portland, the Cascade Mountains, the Coast Range, and the Pacific Ocean.

Until we were here a while, I had no idea where, in the midst of the thousands of miles of freeways, toll roads, state highways, streets, turnpikes, avenues, boulevards, and county roads; of more buses, trucks, cars, trains, and vans than I'd ever seen before traveling on these routes ; of apartments stacked on one another, tight city streets, and miles and miles of strip malls, shopping  malls, plazas, and high rises, I'd find beauty.

And, certainly today, with pictures of fires, broken glass, turned over vehicles, and broken store front windows in Baltimore dominating the news, friends of mine back in Oregon and Idaho have wondered if I was all right -- after all, all of this is happening just thirty-two miles away.

Things are quiet here in Greenbelt and today I went on a walk around Greenbelt Lake.  It's my closest and primary source of beauty here in suburbia, a peaceful park and human made lake that sits still and quiet, while all around it exists the never-ending buzzing and whirring of people on the go.

I took pictures today -- more than the five assigned (sigh) -- hoping to convey some of the peace and beauty and variety that is alive all around Greenbelt Lake, to convey some of what calms me as I walk the trail circumventing the lake.

First, though, the Deke and I are very fortunate to live in an apartment complex that is almost like a park with its many trees and large expanses of grass, dotted with buildings holding the apartments.  I took a couple of pictures as I left the complex today.

First, here's the main entrance to the complex:

And here is a look at what the grounds look like as one approaches the entrance:

The park, as I mentioned, is calming, and here you can see the expanse of the water and a woman and a child, holding hands, enjoying the company of a couple of ducks near the shore:

I'm not alone as a member of the over sixty set walking the circumference of the lake and I enjoy nodding a hello to other people.  This man walks faster than I do -- which is easy to do -- and you can see, if you look closely, a runner on ahead of him, and see all the trees and other growth that line so much of lake's path:

I never know what I'll see each time I walk and, today, I imagined that someone dangled this reminder of the Easter season from the branch of tree along the path:

Flowers grow along the lake's trail, like these daffodils:

And, every day, gaggles of geese swim and fly and feed around the lake:

It's not just those of us of the over sixty set who stroll around this lake.  Youngsters come here as well -- and they hold hands!

Now that it's spring, I've walked around Greenbelt Lake during each of the four seasons.  Each season the reflections on the lake's surface are unique to the season.  Here you get a sense of what the lake reflects back to us who stop and look during the spring:

Springtime is famous in the Washington, D. C. area for cherry blossoms,  I have to admit that I'm not sure these are cherry blossoms, but I'm going to say they are until I'm corrected!  I'm not sure the bee at work here really cares if I got the identification exactly right.  The bee is having a zen moment of union with these blossoms.

I enjoy the sensation of feeling lost among the trees and flowers and water and birds and other walkers at Greenbelt Lake.  This feeling of being lost in the beauty of this place is a feeling of union. Rather than feeling that, as a human, I'm alien and different in this place, I feel a part of it all -- the colors, the smells, the shapes, the sensations of heat and coolness and breeze.

I'm very fortunate, in the midst of all the movement and busy-ness of this place I now live, to live so near an oasis of beauty, so near Greenbelt Lake.

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