Sunday, April 11, 2010

Of Lilies & Squirrels

We went to Wright Park, in Tacoma, yesterday - it was my first "outing" in over a month.  I've really not felt inspired to explore or use my camera.  I'm still mourning--I will for a long time--but I also needed to get out again, feel some sunshine on my face and breathe in the fresh, Spring air.

We visited the WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory. I lived in Steilacoom for 7 years (just outside of Tacoma) and never went to Wright Park, or even knew the conservatory existed.  But then again, I lived in Virginia for 3 years and never went to the Smithsonian... so there's probably a pattern here.

It was overcast and blustery to start, so we ducked into the conservatory first.  There is an art exhibit going on right now - student glass blowers.   There are whimsical mushrooms, barnacles and other sea creatures, and frogs disguised with lilies.  The glass caught and refracted light, creating rainbow splashes in every corner.

Each month, the conservatory has a different theme.  April's theme is "Easter Lilies, Asiatic Lilies, Callas, Hydrangeas, Azaleas & Primula Obconica."  Lilies have long been a personal favorite - Callas especially.  I think it has to be their pure lines and absence of color (unless you're enjoying hybrids), except for that WOW! bit of yellow in the middle.  I find them comforting.  I can't give you a reason why, they just are.  I really wanted them in my wedding - but Calla Lilies and August aren't compatible.

There are a lot unexpected textures in the conservatory.  Many of the plants and trees are tropical.  Palm-like trees, with swaying fronds, vines and tubers, and sneaky thorns hidden in clusters of sweet-smelling, tiny blossoms.

There are, of course, many orchids - all sizes, colors and levels of bizarre shapes.  I was really taken in by the ones that appeared to be made of purple gingham.  Sadly, none of those pictures turned out satisfactorily.  There were also these small orchids, smaller than an inch, that we're a soft chocolate-milk brown.  They translated to pink when I photographed them.  Still pretty though....

We found other unexpected treasures in the conservatory, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone who'd like to visit and hasn't yet.

Wright Park was established in 1890. There a several, weak-knee friendly trails, a pond with fountain, several sculptures, activity areas and squirrels galore.

These are your typical "urban" gray squirrels... bold, well-fed and really too cute for words.  They all know how to perform for your pleasure & fully expect payment - although they do work for peanuts (kaboom-clash).

We were literally followed by a pair of them as we left.  We had come unprepared.  Next time, we'll be sure to arrive with the necessary, appropriate offerings.

The park has several sculptures - mostly classical in nature.  There are, however, two, modern pieces - both commissioned in 1974.  One of the pieces nestles up to the pond.  It's called "Trinity" and depicts three children playing.  My interpretation of the artist's intent is that of innocence, diversity and communal togetherness.

We had a really lovely afternoon.  We'll visit again.  The conservatory promises Polka-Dot Plants and Begonias soon. Parks truly are necessary for a community's well-being and health - both physical and mental.  Nothing refreshed the soul like the kiss of Spring sunshine on your face, the melody of bird song and the company of those you adore.