Monday evening the National Park Service had a ceremony to light up the scrim (metal scaffolding and fabric) that will encase the Washington Monument for the next year or so, while the damage caused by the earthquake in August 2011 is repaired. After some band music and the obligatory speeches and fanfare (which I skipped), the lights were illuminated.
As night fell the monument went through a fascinating transition: At dusk it was a skeletal structure against the setting sun. During twilight it became a blue-gray facsimile of its normal self, its wispy scaffolding mimicking the idle construction cranes nearby. Once night fell it became a pillar of lights towering up into the moonless night sky, its reflection a shimmering golden blade in the pools below.
The scaffolding will be illuminated every night until it is removed in December 2013 – January 2014.