Category Archives: Photo Essay

A Christmas Treat—2016

This is not a difficult rummaging act. The following pictures were taken Friday and today at the US Botanic Garden located at the foot of the US Capitol.

Tracy and I are fortunate to have been named honorary grandparents (though we go by Uncle Andy and Aunt Tracy) of the son of friends. His name is Henry and he is six–as of this writing. In our capacity, we get to take him places from time to time. We’ve been to Christmas Lights at the National Zoo, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, football with his parents, etc.

This Christmas–last Friday, the 23rd–we took him to Botanic Garden, a wonderful indoor, heated conservatory, which is decked out with a Christmas special each year. This year, the garden featured national parks and historic places, with models of the places made of all natural materials and with toy trains chugging through most of them.

Following is a collection of images from Friday’s visit and a return visit I made early this morning, before the crowds arrived. Although the order of the displays seemed fairly random in the garden, the images below track from east to west. The work people have done on this project is pretty amazing. I hope you can see that through this selection of images.

And please take this posting as a Christmas greeting from Tracy and from me, Merry Christmas.

The view from the garden. The Capitol christmas tree is always more attractive than the White House tree. But in this case, the view is affected by preparation of viewing stands for the presidential inauguration on January 20.

Before entry into the train exhibit, visitors are treated to views of US government institutions, the Capitol building and the Supreme Court.

The budding photographer captures a typical scene, this of the Capitol building and a detail below.

The United States Supreme Court
The Gateway Arch–essentially entering in the middle of the country, but hey. It was welcoming.
Henry marveling at the views early on.
Three guesses!
Mount Vernon.
Monticello, Virginia
The Martin Luther King home.


  • Freedom House in Florida


Freedom Tower in Florida–had been used in helping escaping Cuban refugees.
A detail of the tower’s peak.
Both Tracy and I totally missed this one with Henry. All we saw was him going inside this tunnel. Today, I saw what it was, a car loaded up with luggage heading, I presume, west. Such was this exhibit, impossible to see all in one passage. From here, we move to Western scenes!
Mount something or other.
A view of the Grand Canyon, a genuine work of art in bark. (added in second edition of this post).

About the below three scenes, my Marine Corps friend—and Vietnam War company commander—Joe, who lives in Colorado and travels to see family in the region modeled in the below, offered the following amplification: 1st photo: amazingly these dwellings still exist throughout the SW generally running from Chaco Canyon, NM, to SW Colorado to central west Utah (Freemont west of Richfield). Next two are common dwellings of Hopi in central Arizona that are occupied homes.

Cliff Dwelling monument.
Cliff Dwelling detail, one.
Cliff dwelling detail two.
The Old Faithful Inn in Yosemite. I waited and waited for the geyser to pop (it does) but I felt I’d lingered too long.
Percy–Henry identified this particular pal of Thomas the Tank Engine–in Alaska
Percy enters Totem Park in Sitka
Totems in Sitka National Historical Park
Top of a totem

Off to Hawaii and the Iolani Palace and the detail that follows.

And a last treat: who knew? Banana trees have most spectacular blossoms.
Merry Christmas! From Tracy and Henry and me!

Merry Christmas!!!








A Change of Pace: A Place for Reflection

Tracy treated me this weekend to a couple of days on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, spending nights in a quality hotel in Cambridge, Md.  Her goal was to deliver a belated birthday present (from August) and get me out of the office and into my kayak and onto some water, where thoughts of my office would not intrude. (It seems such thoughts cannot swim.)

BlackwaterPanorama-Web The panorama here (a melding of nine images over a span of about 130 degrees) suggests a fairly bland, uninteresting view, a great deal of marsh grass and this and that.

Life may feel like this in its broad sweep, looking very similar with a few objects/moments that stand out.  But, each of us live our days and minutes in the details. And so a scene like this panorama, begins to take on clarity with its minute parts–or so I think.



The collection of trees, otherwise  indifferent at a distance, speak to me of life, its emergence, growth, and ending.






Blackwater-Pier-CrowdThe wildlife of the marsh. Familiar yet particular. We have all seen the dudes in this image (gulls, terns, cormorants) in many places.






The minute parts of this marsh, among it the marsh grass, in its millions of stems, speak for themselves.






The patch of growth apart from all else. Who would imagine a thistle plant here? Miracles abound.


And last,  at a another level of detail, the questions remains, “Where is Charlotte?”