That's how the House of Sweden (see photo) introduces its theme for the spring: Water and Environment. Sweden officially lists climate issues as a top priority and this exhibit and related programs offer education about and different views of the climate crisis.
The mention of the “pretty pink cherry trees” refers to April’s cherry blossom festival, centered around cherry trees given to the U.S. by Japan in 1912 and planted around the tidal basin on the National Mall.
The Japanese love of the cherry blossoms is due, in part, to their transience, symbolizing the transience of beauty, youth and life. Here in Washington, the “peak days” for the blossoms around the tidal basin are eagerly awaited and announced with due fanfare by the National Park Service. Tourists, joggers, bikers, and workers on their lunch breaks or playing hooky circle the tidal basin en masse, admiring the knobby, silver trunks and clouds of pale pink blossoms.
It’s quite something, really, for a city seemingly so immune to natural beauty, to celebrate a few blooming trees in this way. It’s the only “rite of spring” that we collectively have.
One tends to associate ice with coldness, hardness, barrenness and blankness. But in Norse mythology ice plays an important part in the creation of the world. Indeed Ymir, the first living being, is “born” through the contact of fire and ice. The outdoor exhibit at the House of Sweden certainly highlighted the creative potential of ice. Even after the forms of the scultures were melted beyond recognition, the ice was not at all blank or barren, it was patterned with interior cracks and bubbles, different colors, and, on the surface, different textures for touching. Illuminated by sunshine, it was more beautiful, and certainly more evocative, than any stained glass I’ve ever seen.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Read my earlier piece on Climate Change in the North.