Wednesday, December 19, 2001

"If I lived nearer a botanical garden, I'd probably while away whole days of my life walking among its indigenous floral treasures and leafy aliens, or buried in its library, or gleaning what I could of the institution's latest scientific investigation." Thus opens an essay, "Plant Zoos," by Hatsy Shields in The Atlantic Monthly for January 2002 (not yet online). I, however, do live near The Huntington and whiled away the afternoon mainly in the Desert Garden area (my favorite). I also walked through the Palm Garden, Jungle and Subtropical areas, and the Japanese Garden, including the bonsai area. (I'm looking forward to the new Chinese Garden that is going to be established.)

The temperature was in the upper 60s and brilliantly sunny. There weren't many people about; however, the groundskeepers were out in force cutting grass and using a chainsaw on something. So it wasn't quite as peaceful as it might have been. Still, it is easy to feel as though you've escaped somewhere magical.

Speaking of enchantment, I saw the end of a documentary on J. R. R. Tolkien's work. It inspired me to re-read The Fellowship of the Ring before seeing the movie.
'Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again' [said Gandalf]. 'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo. 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who have to live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'

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