During the summer, this is the place to get out of the sun. There are boats on the lake, and nearby Bethesda Plaza is filled with people, some of them even from New York.
With the entrance of winter, the willow trees go bare, and on a cold afternoon, just before the sun departs for the evening, it is a little bit spooky. Even the San Remo towers, which are normally friendly-looking, seem more ethereal than real. I guess it’s just what happens when nature gets desaturated by a blizzard.
The best spot in the park during the winter is where lots of people gather. Maybe the skating rink. But if you go to the park during a winter twilight, and visit the bare willows by the lake see if you get that feeling of alienation; or a sense that the tableau before you isn’t entirely happy to have been shorn, frozen and left to make it through the night alone.
Of course that connection between trees and winter does go back a ways. Now we call it Christmas. Once it was a druid prayer. And before that – wherever there are four seasons, there’s some ritual to acknowledge the arrival of winter – and the loneliness of a twilight by a frozen lake.