Reston is an ordinary place. With houses and gardens, small parks and large trees. It is a pretty little town that has retained some of its little-town charm though close to a very large town. I bought my home here forty years ago, but I have lived here only half that time – the other half being in the sands of Middle East and the groves of Asia or Central America. When I came back here after my far-flung trips, I thought of my stay as temporary, until I decide on my next adventure.
Apparently that adventure was to be here, in this small town. I worked on some projects here, then – thanks to the emerging idea of a virtual worker – I worked on projects elsewhere, rooted to my home here. Then my life took another turn, and I started writing. Glued to a desk and a laptop, I am now a loyal resident. I live in utter fidelity to Reston, though I stray periodically like a faithless lover to Mexico or Russia, Colombia or India.
But Reston is my true love. And it takes on a royal air when it snows.
I pass through the woods nearby and I am transfixed by the beauty of the trees. I used to think Joyce Kilmer’s line, “I think that I shall never see/ a poem lovely as a tree,” a bit of an exaggeration. No longer. The trees stand majestic, with tiny slivers of snow glinting in their bark. Every branch has a thick dollop of the whitest snow. Every leaf looks splendid with its green dappled with dusting of white. Every bit of snow reflecting magnificently the splendor of a bright day. As I walk, a few flakes slip off the trees and land on my shoulders. I will take that moist touch like a benediction and move on.
Further ahead, the lake is frozen of course. A few geese are on the shore, looking somewhat crestfallen at the loss of their playground. The avid anglers I see usually are notable by their absence. I love to watch the ripples in the water, touched by the mildest breeze. They are replaced today by the vast mirror the lake has become, sending keen beams every which way.
I walk on to the small café, which is mercifully open. I ask for a double espresso, and the tall thin woman produces it in a jiffy. I sip slowly, enjoying its heat and strength in equal measure, watching the empty plaza. Other days I like the jostling crowd that is always there, buying ice cream or sipping beer. Today I enjoy the silence and the quiet landscape.
I walk back, the sole rambler on the road. The cold air seems to have kept the strollers at home. That, I believe, is a mistake. My friend Tom Pereira tells me that his cousin, a top cardiologist, has advised him to walk in open air when he has a cold. You will cure a cold in a week if you take a tablet and in seven days if you don’t, but you will do better in three days if you take in some fresh air, runs his counsel. I have some healthy skepticism of most medicines, including cold tablets, and find the advice quite plausible.
I pass by the trees again. They stand guard in their remarkable white uniform. I feel honored to be in their midst. I look around and watch the incredible glittering white scene and feel lucky to be in this dreamland.