Visiting a northern botanical garden in February with two toddlers in tow hints at limitation — in time, attention, flora variety and color. Thus, my expectations were set just slightly higher than pavement level when our snuggly packed chevy sedan pulled into the nearly empty parking lot of Omaha’s 100 acre Lauritzen Gardens located in the heart of the city’s riverfront hills.
My sister and brother-in-law, who frequent the gardens, had pre-chosen two kid-friendly destinations: the lushly tropical, invitingly warm Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory and the windy bluffs, home to two of world’s largest retired locomotives.
The contrast was striking.
Organic vs Machine. Life vs Death.
But both evoked awe.
Both had a story. An appeal. A part to play in the modern psyche: the pull of the exotic, Nature’s enchantment, power’s thrill, the rise and results of fossil fuel-based “progress.”
My mind’s been digesting this experience for 2 weeks, ruminating on a smorgasbord of questions about Life’s directing influence and cycles, creativity and choice, the power of desire, and the inherent human capacity to stand in the present, eyes perceiving, heart open, hands ready, feet on the ground.
Which distilled down to this: the urgent necessity of tending and feeding our togetherness. Here. On this small planet. Now.