The Wonder of Miniature
Washington Travel Blog› entry 21 of 27 › view all entries
When I was little, I loved to go out in the backyard where we had a huge oak tree. I would pick up twigs, acorns, and tiny pebbles and build miniature houses amongst the roots of this century-old tree. I even took little toys out to my natural village and created stories for the characters.
As an adult I no longer build these miniature villages but the artisans at the Botanic Gardens do which I think would be a fantastically fun job (if you had that skill!).
The Botanic Garden had two entrances set up: one for the main area and another one for the special train exhibit. I chose to see the main area first. Like last year the entrance hall had miniatures of DC spread throughout it, the Washington Monument and US Capitol building in the prominant spaces.
I then took a wander through several other lush galleries in the Gardens, my usual visit. I took my time near the poinsettias since they were a seasonal flower plus I also feel a connection to the Christmas flower since its origins can be traced to Mexico. It was fun to look at the varieties with their background information.
I slipped outside, my eyes briefly falling on the Capitol building, so close to its organic model inside the Gardens. As the rain slowly spit at me, I was grateful to only have a short walk to the other entrance. I stepped into another miniature wonderland based on reality but a reality spread across the world rather than just the Mall: thirteen man-made structures that display amazing architecture from five continents.
The miniature wonders did not follow any geographical or chronological order, the sites just flowed along, drawing the visitors from one view to the next. The Lighthouse of Alexandria subtly introduced the theme, its narrow height almost blending in with the wooden backdrop. Easter Island figures hinted at mystery, the statues keeping a silent, stoic watch. Across the path the Sphinx breathed of ancient wisdom, nearly dynamic compared to the triangular pyramid next to it. Petra with its stone columns entranced me (hope to see it someday!). The Great Wall of China marched along the side of the wall, little watchtowers hinting to its protective purpose. Compared to the stocky Wall, the white Taj Mahal seemed almost fairy-like.
Despite the slightly gross weather, I trekked across the street to see the Capitol Christmas tree up close. This year Wyoming contributed an Engelmann Spruce from the Bridger Teton National Forest. Decorated in cowboys, boots, and mustangs, the 67-foot tree proudly displayed the Christmas season.