Saturday, December 19, 2009

LED lights give the Capitol tree a cooler vibe

Wisconsin State Capitol Holiday Tree
Although it's a big tree, the holiday tree in the State Capitol is dwarfed by the soaring rotunda. It used to be a Christmas tree, of course, but those days are long past. Now it's a holiday tree.

Wisconsin State Capitol Holiday TreeThat's not the only difference. It also looks different, and it's because of the LED lights. Although I agree with the objective, the ubiquitous energy-savers emit a cool wavelength that just doesn't have the warmth of the older incandescent lights, at least to my eye (the camera's eye, too). Those little curlicues of glowing filament that produced incandescent light, were our last link with the glowing candles of an earlier era. We just have to move on, I guess. Since the tree stands in a formal space to begin with, the tree with its LEDs would seem almost too austere, verging on sterile, save for one thing -- the marvelous decorations made by schoolchildren from all over the state. There are stars, Santas, snowflakes, snowmen and all manner of mysterious objects that are impossible to classify. What matters is the innocent exuberance of children making things for Christmas the holidays. The lights might be cooler, but the kids' handiwork is as warm as ever.

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