Time Travel for the Seasonally Impaired

Am I preaching to the choir when I talk about how wonderful it is to find a place of humid green and scented color in the middle of a mid-northern winter?

sunken gardenAs we head into February, I thought I’d show you what this second month of winter looks like under glass, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I wish my images could tell you how warm and cozy the air is. Walking into the tropics room, I can feel my hair curl and my skin ease. I like to watch the fish in their languid motion, so my eyes can forget that in my world nature seems frozen in time.

spring under glassHere there are bugs, and birds. And even, mice. Musophobics may want to skip right to the fern room or the sunken garden, but then you’d be missing out on the sloth-staring contest.

The sunken garden has no mice. Just flowers and flowers and flowers. If you like poinsettias, then December is your sunken garden month, you’ll be surrounded in them. But in February you walk into the perfume of plants in jubilant flower.

Being one who likes to sit and take in a room, I am curious about those who shuffle the u-shaped path as if they’re trolling a flea market. In, scoot, scoot scoot. Sniff, scoot, sniff. Out. I sit so long I feel like a tree compared to them.

fiddlesIf you keep an eye out you find new growth everywhere. Fiddles and buds. Florets of bright and tender leaves, fruit and nuts. The north garden reminds me that there are people whose kitchen gardens have black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, and cocoa. How cool is that.

When I finally leave, I go with summer memories invigorated. Looking forward to digging my fingers into the soil of that first spring thaw.

On my walk to the bus, my eyes are newly aware of buds on trees and bushes; small, tightly bound parcels of expectation and hope.

Como Conservatory is open every day of the year: 10am-4pm, Oct-Mar, and two hours later otherwise. The parking lot is small, with some street parking as well. There are bus stops within reasonable walking distance and bike paths from all quarters of the city. Locker rental for coats and such, $0.75. Admission is free but there are donation boxes; $3 for adults and $2 for kids is the recommendation. I’ve never been turned away or even looked at sideways for giving less.