We headed out to the Chicago Botanic Garden this morning for a picnic. A perfect autumn day, too- an embracing warmth with a dry soughing wind and a powder blue sky lazy with clouds. Can we squirrel some of this away and dig it up sometime in mid-February?
Picnics at the garden, it turns out, are frowned upon. The sight of people gorging themselves on cheese and crackers might, I suppose, upset the laboriously manicured balance of all that is, well, botanic. I wondered, upon seeing some lily pads, if they weren't tended each morning by groundskeepers who neatly tethered them to the silty bottom of the pond. Undeniably pretty, it brought out the ageist impulse in us. "This is probably really nice for grandmas," we thought.
Still, it left me feeling expansive and with an itch for my own garden. Last weekend Abby, Cathy and our 2-year old friend and upstairs neighbor Emma invested in some crocus bulbs. Planted by small hands on a late summer day in September they offer the promise of winters end come late March. Fluorescent purples and yellows making a mockery of a Midwestern settlement of gray. I'm already looking forward to their arrival.