A day off – I have been following the prescription of my girlfriend, and decided it was time for some R&R – After a week of editing, cropping and posting photos, I decided it was time for a bit of a change. I needed to recharge the batteries and my eyes were strained. The weather here in the Washington, DC area has been just wonderful. Last week seemed more like summer than October with temperatures in the high 80s and into the 90s. So finally with a sunny day and cool temperatures, it was off to see one of my favorite places — that gem of the National Park Service – Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens located in Southeast Washington DC. There are 14 acres of ponds that one can stroll among and take in the natural beauty of the park as tended to by the friendly staff of the park.
This day is also a milestone in that it was 4 years ago this weekend that I first visited the park — as a result of a somewhat of a bittersweet situation.
Autumn has reached the gardens with the ponds mostly bare of the colors that summer brings. The ponds that were teaming with color during the summer are now getting ready for their winter rest. The lily ponds were nearly just smatterings of lily pads with only a few “last lilies of summer” poking their colors out into the bright sun. The ponds where the lotus have grown have been “sheared” of the vegetation and looked as if they had been drained. A few flatbottom boats were in the mud — I wondered where the vegetation went, since only a month ago the same pond had been stuffed full with 3 – 4 foot high plants with the seed pods hanging bearing the hard shelled lotus seeds.
In the pond nearest the park buildings, a flock of Canada geese had taken up temporary residence and were feeding — often disappearing down into the water — they appeared “headless”. They eyed me warily as I stood and watched them disappear beneath the surface only to snap a few photos of these now headless fowl.
As I meandered to the back ponds on a quest to get photos of the Victoria waterlilies — the ones that have lily pads that are HUGE — 3 to 4 feet in diameter, I came across a rather novel scene of lily buds poking their way through the a lily pad (shown to the right) Seems that this sight bears another trip back to the gardens in a day or so to catch this rare sight in photo form as the buds open finally into color.
I encountered a husband and wife couple who were visiting from Michigan and we spoke a while. It seems that she had been in the US Army in the 1960s and was stationed at Fort Myer – South Post in what she referred to as the “WAC Shacks” — At that time, Fort Myer had a section called “South Post” before Arlington National Cemetery absorbed that land to lay to rest the United States’s military heroes. I shared with them some of the work I’ve done at ANC photographing the final honors of the military. I’ve been blessed to have the privilege of doing this work – “The Old Guard” executes their missions within those hallowed grounds in such a spectacular way.
The pond with the Victoria had two blooms. I learned from one of the rangers that the flower lasts only two days, and that the colors change during those days. Sadly I had missed the peak bloom of these two. Beneath the surface and poking their tips up above the water were several more buds that looked as if they would burst into bloom within the next two days. So a second reason to return.