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Posts Tagged ‘Poinsettia’

The morning was bright and clear with dashes of sunshine stroking my life. Decorations were scattered about our rambling abode; angels rested on high, books stacked within reach, and there were even a few batches of cookies stored in decorative tins. A rare December day with no meetings on the calendar, a tank full of gas and a list of wonders that I wanted to see, so, off I went with a purpose in mind.

My first stop was to see an exhibit about one of my favorite movies, It’s a Wonderful Life,  at the Elmhurst History Museum. Alas and alack, I arrived to discover it would not open for several more hours, so . . . I promptly reversed my plans and headed, first, to the Wilder Park Conservatory. The Conservatory is an oasis of growth and warmth, history and soulful nourishment nestled into an award-winning park in the western suburbs.

Opening the door, a couple I have known were exiting, two charming grandsons toddling out with them. These two youngsters informed me that there were “fishes” and “elves” inside.

Well, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but, elves here and there and everywhere in the conservatory, along with this poinsettia tree and a cheerful display of the plants all around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In need of a “cuppa” of something warm and a bit of bite to eat, I headed to the north end of town and Brewpoint Coffee and Roastery where I had a tasty blueberry scone and a hot mocha (called Sacagawea).

As luck would have it, on a day filled with good luck, a perfect parking spot awaited me smack dab in the center of town. Like many suburbs around Chicago, parking is at a premium, so I quickly signaled my intent to park, claiming my curbside cradle. My first stop was The Pink Elephant, a well stocked charity shop. I chatted for quite sometime with a woman I did not know as we good-naturedly tried to talk each other into buying something we did not need. Do you ever do that? As a result, this caroler sang her way into my arms and followed me home.

I stopped at a new store, Bread and Butter, where I had purchased a darling pair of earrings a few weeks earlier. It is such a cute shop and the owner, a enterprising young woman, is as delightful as her products. I left with these cute stocking caps meant for bottles that Rudolf absconded with to keep his antlers warm.

My final stop, which was my first on what became a delightful circuitous route, was a tour of the exhibit at the Elmhurst History MuseumIt’s a Wonderful Life. Posters and “stills” from the movie lined the museum’s wall with informative narratives describing scenes, props, biographical information and other tidbits of knowledge about a beloved movie.

Included in this exhibition are photos and information about Elmhurst’s own Christmas traditions and photos of the city around the time depicted in It’s a Wonderful Life.

I did not take many photos, in part to maintain the integrity of the exhibition, and in part to lure you into the museum if you live in the area or are visiting. It is truly worth the visit and is within a short walking distance of not only the conservatory, but, of the renowned Elmhurst Art Museum.

Here are two characters from the movie, the original Bert and Ernie, and another character you might recall, Toots, with her earrings dangling and her infamous red coat.

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IMG_4525A small but sturdy contingency of garden club women who don’t mind getting “down and dirty” ventured out on a blustery mid-week morn.

We met at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which hugs the Lincoln Park Zoo and the magnificent Chicago lakefront. It was my first time there, and, as I often do, I wondered “why?”, especially as I wandered the enclosed butterfly haven. Butterflies, moths and birds flitted about and I found myself slowing down, changing my own rhythm.

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We continued to explore this innovative museum as classes of youngsters darted in and out, trying hard to stay in their Madeleine lines when tunnels and manipulatives and all sorts of wonders called to them, especially in the exhibit rooms which illustrate where waste goes. Children love this “stuff”. It is fun to see nature from the eyes of children. I think we all enjoyed the Peanuts exhibit, which coupled Charlie Brown and his gang with nature facts. This photo is from the Peggy Notebaert website and information on the Peanuts/Charles Schultz connection with nature here.

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After lunch, we donned our rain gear and walked a few blocks, chatting all the way, to the historic Lincoln Park Conservatory. Our engaging docent gave a brief history of the conservatory, which was erected in the 1880’s, we admired the formal outdoor garden, which is framed masterfully by the Chicago skyline.

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Once undercover, we inhaled the warmth and peace of the Lincoln Park Conservatory. I’ll stop writing now, and let you see for yourself.

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The Conservatory is also getting ready for their Christmas display. The poinsettia are ready and glorious.

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The temperatures dipped into the single digits on Monday as the morn arose to a glistening blanket of snow in the tentative, welcoming sunlight. Just outside the kitchen doors, a contingency of the resident herd of deer were tucked in, resting in the shelter of the trees and the barn. Just as I noticed them, their heads poked up noticing me. We went about our morning rituals, aware of each other and our places in time. Peaceful coexistence – at least for now.

Dressed and determined to get to a meeting, I sloshed and slid from pillar to post, holding fast to the car, the curb, the shopping cart, whatever was sturdy as I braced for the weather that we had been mostly spared of thus far this winter. It is hard to complain when so much of the country has been battered and buried in snow for so many weeks already. Still, as the song goes, “baby it’s cold outside”. . .

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. . . but not inside these snow-white doors,

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where elves hide ( he reminds me of Buddy the Elf)

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and Poinsettia still hold court,

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their bright colors stunningly paired with winter white blooms.

I’m so glad I took a few moments to step inside the Elmhurst Conservatory to catch my breath and grab some color before the storms blew in – and blow in they did, with several fresh inches of snow and bitter cold this morning of Epiphany. DSCN6992 DSCN6993 DSCN6994

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After a meeting at the Elmhurst Park District, I visited the Wilder Park Conservatory nearby. Coming in, after a short walk in the bitter cold, the warmth of the greenhouse was intoxicating. Even in January, the poinsettia were in full dress, dusting the dance floor with the cyclamen and ferns.

It is a small conservatory, but, walking around enjoying the greenery, it felt like a landed estate.

Sometimes, all we really need is just to take some time to come in out of the cold; to take a deep breath, smell the earth and flowers, and feel the warmth cascading down.

I went on my way after about fifteen minutes in this welcoming retreat, bidding a friend goodbye.

I think that is why, on a very cold day, with the sun finally peeking through, I was able to accept the clouds returning my way.

You might say it was an epiphany.

 

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