I’m so pleased to be publishing my very first Live. Snap. Write. post today!
Jenni wrote a wonderful introduction to the site, describing what we’re doing here and how this all came to be. (Check it out here!) And I found myself thinking about one specific line from that post when I was putting together my post today:
“Live. Snap. Write. is a place to share things that move us — experiences, places, various art forms, both extraordinary and the seemingly unremarkable.”
This particular line hit me because, when I went downtown last weekend (Washington, D.C.), to the US Botanic Garden, I wasn’t at all expecting to be “moved.” I just desperately needed a change of scene! As did my ex-husband and our two kids. Rainy, gloomy, not to mention unseasonably warm weather had been operating like a wet blanket on our holiday spirit. We were, all of us, feeling a little deflated…a little low. We needed…something.
And then I chanced to read that the Botanic Garden had a holiday exhibit – something that included replicas of various buildings/monuments on the National Mall, as well as a train component. The novelty of that sounded promising. We decided to give it a go.
I was hoping for some distraction…and maybe a little bit of metaphorical fresh air.
And I got those things. But I also got more than that.
So, it was another in a string of dreary days – that Botanic Garden morning.
We didn’t expect any glorious profusion of vegetation – not outside anyway. (Not in December.) But we thought the paths would still be nice to walk.
And they were.
And then the other, quieter, bits of winter vegetation. It was very pleasant to wander around – looking at things, taking pictures, exploring.
We meandered our way eventually to the entrance of the exhibit.
The building – an elegant structure, set into those grounds – was “dressed” for the holiday season:
To our surprise, there was a line to get in (we haven’t ever encountered that at the Botanic Garden before.)
The line actually moved pretty fast. And once inside, we got to distract ourselves with the big wall display. It was about bees and pollination…
It was in looking at the inside holiday decorations – along with feeling the cheerfulness of the staff and the general happy excitement of the crowd – that I, for the first time in the entire holiday season, actually started feeling in the holiday mood! (I really wasn’t expecting that.)
And it would have been worth a much longer and more tedious wait, I have to say. It was a really nice exhibit!
Everything was modeled utilizing plant materials – and actual pieces of plants (twigs, moss, leaves, etc.) So much intricate detail! So much color! So much charm!
My son loved the trains best (of course,) and both of my kids loved the creatures. My daughter’s favorite part was the little bee vignettes at the end. (They were pretty cute!) :
When we reached the end of “Pollination Station” (otherwise known as the train exhibit), we still had the replicas of the National Mall buildings to look forward to. But we decided to take the long way there…
And this was a good choice! It was crowded – but not so much that you couldn’t enjoy yourself or take time to pause and investigate (or take photos!)
For my part, I had forgotten how interesting the Botanic Garden is! It’s fun to see things…
…that you don’t normally get a chance to see in their natural state.
More from the desert room:
It’s fun too to go from the desert to the tropics with just a few steps!
…and coffee beans too (though I didn’t get a photo of those.) Limes too, I recall. And bananas.
So many interesting (and pretty!) things!
One of the last rooms we entered was the one that contained the big Christmas tree – one of the largest in Washington, D.C., apparently.
From there, we moved into the last exhibit – the one with the replicas. I was particularly interested to see this one.
And it was excellent! Really worth viewing. There was so much detail to the structures. It was so much fun to look at – and really interesting to study.
Finally, we’d seen everything.
We lingered a little on our way out…
It’s funny how cloudy skies can turn from depressingly gloomy to cheerfully cozy – without the slightest physical change in the weather or the light.
Maybe it’s your attitude that makes the difference?
A little bit, I’m sure.
But honestly? I think it’s a lot more to do with the act of rousing yourself to improve your circumstances. It comes down to taking initiative…to acting for yourself. To remembering that a little bit of adventure – sometimes just a little – can be all you need. A little bit of adventure can sometimes be all it takes to make you remember that the world is an interesting and beautiful place – just waiting to be explored!
And when you can remember that, even the dreariest skies can seem full of promise.
That’s a good truth to be reminded of at the cusp of a new year, I think. I’m going to try to carry that with me through 2016 :).
[words & photography by Maggie Carlise]