Late Winter: Landscapes in Seoul
|Stream on the grounds of the National Museum of Korea, October 2011|
Don't let the deceptively lush photo above (taken back in October, before it Got Cold) fool you. Those of you who read this blog regularly will be aware that it is still Winter in Seoul. For the last few months, I've
In last week or so, though, there have been hints of Spring in the air as March approaches, with a few days in the low 50F/12C range, with more forecast for this week. In fact, it was so (relatively) balmy one afternoon last week - just before my tiresome week-long bout of laryngitis, in fact - that my friend L and I ventured out for our first walk since last November. We were not alone; lots of our winter-weary fellow-citizens were also out soaking up the watery winter sun and enjoying being outdoors without fear of frostbite.
However, as encouraging as the warmer temperatures were, we could tell that Spring was not exactly around the corner; signs of spring - at least in terms of buds or green leaves - were almost nonexistent, and most of the water we saw was still in the form of ice, frozen into stillness. For those of you who are rolling your eyes and wondering just how much one woman can exaggerate, I have taken a few photos of some of my favorite spots on the grounds outside the National Museum of Korea
that will prove to you that it really has been freaking cold here to give you an idea of what things look like. Here's what the stream pictured above (in early October) looks like right now in late February:
Quite a difference, isn't it? Here's the stream from the other direction; first, in October:
Then, in late February:
Observant readers will note that the water in the stream in the winter photos is all in the form of ice, and - from what I can see - it will be a while before it all thaws out.
Another body of water in the park, popular with tourists and locals alike for its serene Zen-like design and natural beauty, is a small pond -complete with waterfall - called Dragon Falls. The first time I saw it back in October, this is what it looked like:
Here's what it looks like now:
|Yes, that's right: the ice is melting in some places - progress!|
Having been there so many times when the waterfall (visible in the first photo at just past 12 O'clock) was running, I missed the background gurgle of the waterfall, which is apparently turned off in the winter. It's clear that the ice is beginning to thin and melt in some places, but we've got a while to go.
Another spot nearby, adjacent to the National Museum of Korea, is the Yongsan Family Park, which boasts a small, man-made lake. In warmer parts of the year, the trailing branches of weeping willow trees encircle most of the lake:
Right now, the branches are bare, with just a few dead leaves clinging to them:
There are still big chunks of ice in this lake, but it's obvious that there's been a bit of melting going on. There still aren't many 'real' signs of spring - no bulbs, no green leaves, no swelling buds - yet. But the ice is melting. I know Spring can't be far away. I'll let you know what it looks like.