The Mall

Not many people know the National Mall area better than I do.  During the winter, I get off the Metro at Smithsonian and walk across the Mall every workday.   When I commute by bike in the summer, I ride along the Mall.   When I run during lunch breaks, I run on the Mall and if I when I have time I walk from SA 44 along across the Mall to Main State.  

Today I got off at Federal Triangle.  It was a longer walk to work, but it is a nice walk.  I like the mornings because I have the place mostly to myself.  I also like the afternoons when it is crowded with people.  It is nice most of the time.

I have posted dozens of Mall pictures on this blog, so please look through the files if you want to see more.  Below are the branches of an elm tree.  Notice the buds are swelling.  Spring is on the way.  

There are always complaints that the Mall is getting a little scruffy.    This is nothing new and it is part of the charm.   Our National Mall is … OUR national Mall.  On warm afternoons it fills with citizens enjoying their capital’s front yard.   People play football or Frisbee on the grass.  They walk between the Smithsonian buildings.  There are various exhibitions set up along the Mall paths during the warm seasons.  Thousands of us crowd the Mall on the 4th of July.  Millions of Americans watched the President’s inauguration.  People think of it as their own and it is.  Of course, all this is hard on the grass and it makes the place a little scruffy.

Below – I am reading lots of complaints that the crowds at the Obama inauguration killed the grass on the Mall.  It is damaged, but not dead.  I have seen it worse.   It will be back, as usual.

Scruffy is a point of pride for me and beauty.  Each of the bare spots is an indication of use.   The Smithsonian staff does a great job of keeping the grass reasonably healthy.   They rotate the fields to give grass a chance to recover.   And the fields are diverse; they have their share of clover and other “weeds”.   The Mall is not home to that chemically produced living Astroturf we too often see in our verdant manicured suburban lawns.

Above – this is how the rotate and manage the grass.  There is always a section closed off.  The grass there gets a rest.   Then they move the fence to protect a different place.  The grass on the Mall gets trampled every year, more during years with big events or inaugurations.   It grows back.   

This link has information about proposed restoration and improvements on the Mall.  It also shows the proposed location for the Martin Luther King Monument and other changes.

BTW – the bees are back.   A couple of years ago we were worried that honeybees were disappearing for mysterious reasons.  The reasons are not really mysterious.  Read about it at this link. The bees are back in town