Often we wander along neither seeing nor hearing the beauty of nature all around us. Color, beyond what can be manufactured and packaged for the artist to apply to canvas, and sound of bird, insect and the earth itself, is around us in abundance but are we still enough to see and hear? Usually not. Although we try to absorb as much as possible from whatever is around in the natural state, it requires conscious effort to still the self enough to hear and see. Our frantic lifestyles are not always conducive to the kind of ‘stilling’ that is required. There are opportunities available, however; we just need to grasp them when we can.
We came from nature, it is part of us. Nature brings us peace, comfort and helps calm us. We become more gentle and kind, nicer to each other. Studies of human behavior have recognized the correlation between these attributes and nature, and city planners have heeded the recommendations. Even in our planned and structured communities, regardless of size, one can find moments of stillness in nature. Within and maintained by the cities are parks and botanical gardens to serve the need of human beings to find that stillness.
Wherever you live or travel there is sure to be something nearby. City parks often have special gardens or conservatories, usually free (at least to residents) or for a low maintenance fee. I found one of these in Toronto while attending the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Allan Gardens just happens to be right on the short walk from where I stay to the downtown area where I access subway and theaters. I don’t spend much time in the park itself as I prefer sitting in and wandering through the conservatory. The lovely Victorian structure extends into 5 separate greenhouses and covers 16,000 square feet with such “houses” as tropical, cactus, and palm. Apparently there are seasonal changes but since the film festival is always in September, that’s when I get to see the exhibits.
Here are some of my favorites from the offerings of September, 2010.