When you go from winter white to tropical paradise in the middle of a snowy January, the colors are truly unbelievable! The temperate climate may warm the body, but those lush, colorful plants growing like weeds – they truly warm the soul.
The place was a palate of passion, a riot of rapture only Mother Nature could pull off with flare and finesse. The place was Fairchild’s Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some really good ideas.
Lead you down the garden path with that little paraprosdokian, didn’t I? I even managed to mislead spellcheck with that fancy pants word, paraprosdokian. It’s my new favorite word.
It is a lovely garden path, though, wouldn’t you agree. And I had an idea (I can hear those voices loud and clear) you might like to see the grounds surrounding one of Austria’s most important cultural monuments .
Whoa! Where have you guys been? Oh, wait! I've been the one off for the last week. Well, I'm back, and ready to rock and roll - I think.
It’s been a struggle writing today’s post (although I think it's the longest post ever for 2012 - lots of pictures!), something along the lines of a tooth extraction. The extraction was undoubtedly a wisdom tooth given my lack of muse. It’s left a huge hole at the back of my six months of otherwise pearly posts. I’ve been running my mind over the hole the holidays left in the order and rhythm of my literary life, unable to reconcile the foreign feel of a blinking curser and all that empty space taunting me.
I’ve decided photos might be more appropriate for my planned “Year in Review” post given it may take a few days before my arthritic bones and muse are back up to speed. I think it’s the lethargy of all the holiday food and family and friends combined with minimal mental and physical exercise. Thankfully the New Year, along with its resolutions, will bring an end to all the lethargy.
It was a beautiful, enchanting world out there that beckoned in 2012. All the history and mystery, the people and places (and the fantastic food) offered a multitude of photo ops that spoke volumes when it came to the world’s gifts and mankind’s imagination. You know you want to check it out!
If it looks like spring, and feels like spring, certainly it must be spring, right?
After all, it is December 5th. In the Chicago area, the temperature was 27 degrees early this morning; officially, we’re about two weeks away from winter, although I’m not sure this past Sunday my feathered friend just outside the kitchen window knew whether winter was coming or going any more than Mother Nature did.
On the other hand, Jimmy and I knew exactly where we were going with our grandkids (and Flat Stanley, of course) while the getting was good and the temperature was pushing 70 degrees.
I like to think I have a good sense of direction. Certainly with my math background, you’d think finding my way around a maze via a map would be as easy as pi.
Obviously there was something wrong with the map! We’d spent our first 30 minutes getting nowhere but lost, no closer to exiting the 8-acre maze of corn than pi’s digits were to ever terminating. It was all so irrational!
You should know by now, based on my Denver’s Got the Dirt on Botanic Gardens blog post last month that I have an affinity for Japanese Gardens. So it should come as no surprise that aside from the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit (blog link), my favorite garden of the 24 gardens home to Chicago’s Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, Illinois was the Japanese Garden of Sansho-en, the Garden of Three Islands.
Phew, long sentences are tough to write without risking a run on; I’m sure they’re just as tough to read without the risk of running off. But I digress.
I knew there was more to the Japanese culture than one fifth-grade heartthrob from a South Pacific island. I learn something new every trip I make, every place I visit. That’s one of the things I love about travel. What I learned while strolling through Sansho-en Japanese Gardens was balm for this old soul.
They were everywhere, covered in beautiful geometric patterns and bright bold colors! The brochure suggested their numbers might reach 500 during a single visit. I wasn’t into counting, but 500 seemed a reasonable estimate as Jim and I entered the pavilion they called home.
I did estimate the temperature inside the pavilion to be close to 500 degrees. Okay, that might be a bit of hyperbole; it was more like 100 degrees, with 60% humidity. It was HOT! Of course, the temperature outside the pavilion was hovering close to 94 degrees as Chicago went for another record. My hair had started complaining immediately upon entering the pavilion, then had simply thrown in the towel and limped along quietly thereafter.
My fascination with the unique beauty of art stemming from the simplest of mediums began in the fifth grade, specifically with one dark haired, brown eyed boy named Hiroshi who hailed from the exotic island of Japan, an island as remote as afternoon recess during our mid-morning math drills.
I was putty in his hands, as was the lined notebook paper he used to craft an origami crane at the speed of infatuation. He passed his delicate bird and humble devotion across the aisle to me without speaking a word, without the customary pinching, teasing or name calling so culturally pervasive.
I followed his lead with a silent but meaningful batting of the eyelashes, head down, a whisper of a second glance in his direction after I accepted his gift. The deal was sealed, at least for the lifespan of liaisons typical of caterpillars on the brink of flight. Two weeks later it was Bobby’s Snickers candy bar (Chocolate! Need I say more?) that was suddenly more enticing than all those cranes littering my desktop.
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