“This week, show us your interpretation of descent.”
I might possibly be interpreting “descent” too loosely for the challenge…I don’t know. But having taken this picture, I can’t make myself satisfied with any other interpretation now, I find!
I actually went downtown (Washington, D.C.) on purpose yesterday to take a picture for the photo challenge. I was vaguely thinking of a shot looking down the steep steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
But we never made it over there. It was COLD!! We weren’t dressed warmly enough for the walk. We parked at this lot near the Jefferson Memorial and managed to see that, as well as the FDR Memorial and the MLK Memorial, before we had to call it a day and head back to the car. My fingers could hardly press the camera shutter by that point, my hands were so cold! (I need some decent gloves, maybe fingerless ones, if I want to take many photos this Fall and Winter. All I have are mittens right now…which aren’t really conducive to managing my camera!)
So, as I said, I never actually made it around to the Lincoln Memorial to get my shot. But as it turns out, I like this one better.
There are these amazing, gigantic, gnarled trees around the Tidal Basin. Here’s another shot of them:
The tree in the first picture (the one I’m using for the challenge) looks to me like a woman, twisting, with her arms in the air. The trees near her are bent over (they really are; they’re growing like that. It’s not a trick of the angle.) They look like they’re grieving with her – like they’re all kind of bitterly grieving over something they can’t change.
Maybe it was the very chilly air (October was pretty warm in Virginia/DC – so this real November air was something of a shock to the system yesterday!), or the November color – but I found myself thinking of the Greek goddess Demeter when I saw that tree.
“Demeter’s virgin daughter Persephone was abducted to the underworld by Hades. Demeter searched for her ceaselessly, preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed to release her, but gave her a pomegranate. When she ate the pomegranate seeds, she was bound to him for one third of the year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought, or the autumn and winter. There are several variations on the basic myth….In all versions, Persephone’s time in the underworld corresponds with the unfruitful seasons of the ancient Greek calendar, and her return to the upper world with springtime.”
The chilly air…the (to my fancy anyway) ancient trees…the leaves…the “posture” of the “Demeter tree”: all of this just screamed “DESCENT” to me. The descent of Persephone to the underworld, and that whole myth. The descent of leaves in autumn. The sort of metaphorical descent of everything from bright summer color to cold gray winter.
Anyway, I don’t know if it’s the best photo choice if it requires this much explanation! But there it is!