a little glimpse at our no-name oakton neighborhood behind oak vale

Wednesday, August 7:  Today I take a walk around my Oakton neighborhood and take pictures with my iPhone of some houses and yards, as well as a path in the woods that’s overgrown with ferns and grasses and fallen trees.  Here’s a little glimpse of my neighborhood on a cloudy Virginia day.

We live in a neighborhood with older normal-sized Colonial-style houses.  When I turn off of our road, the scenery is upgraded quite a bit to newer and bigger houses, McMansion territory.

Much of Oakton is quite wealthy, though our neighborhood is in the lower echelons.  According to a 2010 estimate, the median income for a household was $167,512, and the median income for a family was $188,308. Males had a median income of $111,856 versus $73,254 for females. The per capita income was $65,934. About 3.9% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.7% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over (Wikipedia: Oakton, Virginia).

Oakton is part of Fairfax County, one of the largest counties in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.  As of 2012, the county’s population was 1,118,602, making it the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 13.6% of Virginia’s population (Wikipedia: Fairfax County, Virginia).

my neighbor across the street
my neighbor across the street
walking down the road
walking down the road
the road downhill
the road downhill
still at the back of Oak Vale
still at the back of Oak Vale
big yards
big yards
around the corner
around the corner
now we're in McMansion territory
now we’re in McMansion territory
storm clouds a brewin' in the McMansion neighborhood
storm clouds a brewin’ in the McMansion neighborhood
flowering trees
flowering trees
nicer homes in the McMansion neighborhood
nicer homes in the McMansion neighborhood
weeping willow
weeping willow
the weeping willow blowing in the breeze
the weeping willow blowing in the breeze
back into a normal neighborhood
back into a normal neighborhood

We have a walking trail at the bottom of our hill that goes along a stream that runs through an overgrown forest.  The stream feeds into Difficult Run a 15.9-mile-long tributary stream of the Potomac River in northern Virginia.  Difficult Run runs through Fairfax County to Great Falls Park on the Virginia side of the Potomac River.

green in the stream bed that feeds Difficult Run
green leafy plants in the stream bed that feeds Difficult Run

There’s a lot of green in Virginia as it’s a fairly humid and wet place, especially in summer.  It’s certainly the opposite extreme from where I’ve been living in the desert climate of Oman for the last two years.

overgrown forest with a walking trail
overgrown forest with a walking trail
ferns
ferns

I’m surprised to find so many downed trees in the forest.  Apparently many of them were knocked down during some strong storms over the last couple of years. The June 2012 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest derecho was one of the most destructive and deadly fast-moving severe thunderstorm complexes in North American history. The progressive derecho tracked across a large section of the Midwestern United States and across the central Appalachians into the mid-Atlantic on the afternoon and evening of June 29, 2012, and into the early morning of June 30, 2012. It resulted in 22 deaths, widespread damage and millions of power outages across the entire affected region (Wikipedia: June 2012 North American derecho).

Someone, probably people who live along the stream bed, came in with chain saws and cut the trees into manageable pieces.  Apparently the trees were blocking the path following the destructive storms.

ferns and downed trees
ferns and downed trees

Here’s a part of the stream.

the stream
the stream
a hint of autumn to come
a hint of autumn to come
ferns and mossy tree trunks
ferns and mossy tree trunks
mushrooms
mushrooms
ferns and leaf
ferns and leaf

I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1994, except for the three years I lived abroad in Korea and the Sultanate of Oman. For quite some time, I have found it to be quite dull here, and I’ve never been fond of the Washington metropolitan area.  I really dislike the suburbs;  this is all coming back to me now that I’ve returned home from living abroad.  I would rather live either in a big city or in a small town.  Suburbs seem like lifeless sprawling things that make ordinary life seem dull and repetitive and empty.

Right now, it seems I’m having a bit of hard time adjusting to life back home. 😦

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