I wrestle my 3 year old into his clothes and then into his car seat. I snap the baby seat in place, and drive. Wait for a train for 10 minutes. Fight my way through traffic on the 3 lanes of Portage Ave. Loop around the underpass, up Tuxedo, right onto Corydon... Pull onto Conservatory drive. Find a parking space, unbuckle 3 year old, put baby in carrier. Chase three year old with umbrella through rain.
Through one set of doors. Catch 3 year old, and through another set of doors. Up a path, past a crowd of school kids. Around a corner. Breathe.
All around me, at my feet and above my head, are the lush, thick leaves of tropical plants. Soft light filters through the greenery onto the path before me. The air is heavy with humidity, and from somewhere I hear water quietly falling. I can smell black earth, and dusty paving stones, and warm, wet, growing things.
It is well with my soul.
I duck under the canopy of a low growing tree, and follow my quick-footed son. He has spotted a bench to climb onto, and off of again. He runs by the pond, pausing for just a second to watch a koi fish circle in the water. We round the corner and see a trickle of a waterfall, landing in a small pool where five turtles are unhurriedly passing the time. A friend I meet up with asks me, "Do you come here very often?" Sigh... Not as often as I'd like.
We've come to another set of glass doors. Opening them, I recognize the sweet fragrance of hydrangeas. There are so many here, nestled together with tulips, snapdragons, lilies, and many more flowers I cannot name. As the light rain drizzles down the greenhouse roof, I watch as Nik runs to and fro along the paths, up the steps and around the gardens. I find a bench to sit down, and nurse my baby.
Fish and turtles pass slowly through still pools. Trees tower overhead. Ivy creeps near our feet. A group of school children pass through on their way to transplant some seedlings. Seniors take photographs. A young man with autism taps a garden tie rhythmically as he watches a gardener misting plants. The room is alive, but not frenetic. Everyone seems at peace in the midst of these beautiful, growing things.
Time passes and tummies rumble. The time comes for us to leave again, sooner than I would like. Back out through the doors, into the drizzle, babe in arms, and 3 year old in tow. Back into the car seats, down the drive, into the traffic... Back to life. Back to that list of laundry to do, diapers to change, kids to feed, groceries to buy.
But I carry a little peace with me. A lighter breath. An acknowledgement, a gratitude for my moment of conservatory calm. Namaste.