3.05.2010

All In A Good Day's Play: The Flora, Fauna and Us, At The Huntington Edition.


Those not lucky enough to live in visiting proximity of The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens simply do not know what they are missing. And even that is an understatement of great proportions as The Huntington is a kind of heavenly utopia nestled in the quaintly sublime suburb of Pasadena, San Marino.

I had visited once before--to see a stunning and rare visiting installation of English poet, painter and print maker, William Blake, back when I was a fledgling grad student. The experience then was pleasant. I was moved most by the incredibly detailed and individualized copper plates that Blake used to relief etch his poetry onto rather than by the sheer enormity and astute aesthetic plenitude of the gardens themselves.

I visited again yesterday--the first Tuesday of the month is free--with Noah Finn, Asami and Kai. Instead of a notebook, I was loaded down with a stroller, snacks, diapers, sippy cup and a few days supply of "what ifs" stuff. We didn't make it far in the first hour or so--strolling only a few feet each time before someone had to go to the bathroom, take a snack or stroller break, or "investigate" a puddle and it's contents that we had just passed. Well into the second hour, once we finally began making headway, we wandered through and by gardens of splendor and plenty--gardens that had used up every last drop of recent rain to color themselves bolder than ever. We found ourselves veiled by a colorful symphony of wildlife--bumblebees, butterflies, geese and chirping birds--clover flowers, green green grass, dew-covered petals and scampering squirrels.

The children's garden by far was the highlight of the day. Water pools, rock gardens, animal-shaped bushes, rainbow tunnels, misting tee-pees, mini vine-covered arbors, tiny foliage cottages--it was a place for hobbits and fairies.

It's funny how you experience things so differently when you are towing tots. Things you never paused to even note before become central attractions and things that once took priority before are quickly forgotten. At the end of it all, as Noah and Kai snoozed in their strollers while we walked from the exit to our car, I took note of how much I enjoyed visiting The Huntington this time. It was so different from the first. And despite the lack of art present by what some might hail as the "greatest artist Britain has ever produced", I had all I needed right there with me--my dear sweet friends and my beautiful boy, Noah Finn.

For more pictures of our day at The Huntington, visit us on flickr.

1 comment:

j e n n i f e r said...

YES! How beautiful. I have not yet discovered the Huntington. Eager to do so now. Thanks for sharing. My friend and I took our kids to Disneyland the other day. Since our recent implementation of the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method, we have noticed significant changes in not only our children's interests, but also ours. Our children were more interested in observing the Snowy Egret at the castle, the sparrow in the pansy patch of the Casey Jr. Train, the empty log cabin in the petting zoo area- preparing a most amazing Thanksgiving dinner: milking the cow, cooking the turkey, setting the table, churning the butter- while all the other children were with the Woody & Jesse characters in the same area. Amazing. I love their love for nature and simplicity.

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