A few weeks ago, my fab friend Yolie and I spent a beautiful afternoon in The Huntington Library, Tea Room and wandering through the gorgeous gardens in Pasadena, California. It was quite a better place to be in December than the mall.
The rose garden seemed to stretch on for miles. As I type this, I can smell all the varying scents. The purple ones smelled the sweetest, but each had its own distinct nuance. Yols got fixated on finding the one called “Jump for Joy.” Faced with roses as far as the eye could see, we spent some time looking and smelling. I heard a person say, “Imagine all of this in bloom in December.” (Clearly, a cold weather visitor.)
I thought about how important this was–our search for “Jump for Joy” in the rose garden. It wasn’t just finding it. Much of the joy was in the search. Seeing all the different names that someone had to come up with for a particular rose. Smelling all the differences. Admiring the varying shades, the structures of the petals and foliage. Taking the time to bury our noses in the flowers (and making sure to check for bees first!)
Driving around LA gets crazy frustrating and I know that often keeps people from places like The Huntington, or Descanso Gardens, or the Botanical Gardens in the South Bay. Each of those places, though, offers unsurpassed beauty and grounding through nature that is not to be taken for granted. Where I live now we just walk outside and see a carpet of stars or oak trees that stretch for miles. Every place has its own kind of beauty.
We were reminded of this that day. My friend Yols rejoined the Huntington and vowed to come more often since she only lives about 15 minutes away.
During the holiday season, we can get focused on getting ready for joy. We click through a list a mile long, often feeling pressure to do more, be more, feel more. We do things on autopilot because we always have. (And, in breaking with that tradition this year, I took a year off holiday cards because after years of sending cards/letters, I’m convinced the rush of the season is launched with holiday card distribution. This year, I was up for a more peaceful December.) We hurry through and forget to smell all the amazing roses along the way.
The gardens were just what we needed. Nature has a way of magically renewing us. Take time to let it.