Thursday, December 27, 2007

The West Virginia Uglies

I think that Charleston is a pretty city. From some vantage points it is a beautiful city. The postcard- esque, if somewhat cliche, view from Cantley Drive (Fort Hill) is classic, and the view from Sunrise is nearly as nice. I really enjoy the view from the YMCA road off Hillcrest Drive, but the view of the town is fleeting as you round the curve near the top of the hill.

One of the reasons our city is so pretty is the massive amounts of vegetation that grows in and around town (this is also why people suffer so badly with seasonal allergies around here). The vegetation, especially the leaves on the deciduous trees, provides a beautiful green backdrop to the man-made portions through most of the year, and then it really comes to life in the fall.

But from late November through mid-April that backdrop changes, and it changes for the worse. In fact, the whole region loses much of its appeal as the leaves fall to the ground, leaving behind the skeletons that invisibly support them throughout most of the year. The green hills turn an ugly shade of gray, the ground turns muddy brown and the whole character of the landscape changes from cheery to dreary. I've heard people call this time of year "The West Virginia Uglies."

I'm sure that there are folks who like the change, but I do not count myself among them. I guess the best thing I could say about it is that the "Uglies" at least provide the contrast that helps us appreciate the amazing transformation that happens around us in the springtime. But that is really stretching optimism to its limits. It's just ugly. And it lasts too long.

Of course, a nice blanket of snow can really cover up the ugly and make the city look presentable for a while, but the snow comes with its own stress: Bad roads, shoveling walks and driveways, etc. Then when the snow begins to melt it is even uglier.

Can someone put in an order for an early spring?


The Film Geek said...

Your description of winter was on my short list of reasons to leave WV in the early part of this decade. The closed-up feeling that comes with mountain living is fine when the fishbowl is green; it can be maddening when it's a muddy brown.

The only problem for me was, Iowa was worse...

Anonymous said...

where is the eastbound traffic?

Buzzardbilly said...

After living out of state for about 7 years, I find that even "the uglies" aren't as ugly to me anymore. I love the sound of dry leaves skittering along the ground with the wind, I love being able to see the flocks of buzzards circling lazily at dusk around the trees they nest in throughout the city, and I love the smell on the pets' fur after they've been running in a crisp, cool forest for a few hours (like squirrels' fur).

When the chestnut trees that's ugly in a whole other way.

Elvis Drinkmo said...

The only thing I like about winter is watching the all birds come to my feeders- they got their own food somewhere in the summer I guess. But in the live in the sticks- so we get plenty of birds and I ain't so sure that's true in the cities.

Charleston is a beautiful city. I don't get there enough.

All Click said...

I don't mind it so much now that the leaves have fallen off. I find myself able to see more of what was hiding behind the trees :-) There are some beautiful houses and buildings that have now been uncovered.

Plus beauty is in the eye of the beholder right? lol