Saturday, May 10, 2008

Field Trip

No, don't adjust your computer. I have changed the format of my blog. I hate it, but don't have time to keep tweaking it at this point. I will probably keep changing it until I find something I like or my brother fixes it for me.

As the air gets warmer and summer slowly approaches, I find myself wandering more. During the late spring through fall, I like to travel. I need to be out seeing either the city I live in or other cities. All those experiences of seeing amazing places and meeting interesting people serves to refill the well of ideas.

Today, I went to one of my favorites places in the world. We're talking in the top 10. Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati, Ohio. I've been going to the Conservatory to see its collection of amazing flora since I was very young. It was a Christmas tradition in my family. When I got my driver's license, I started visiting on a quarterly basis to see its different seasonal exhibits. Now I visit whenever I need to wash out the bad vibes and enjoy a little peace and beauty. (Come on, it can't all be about blood, violence, and vampires.)

So, today, I would like to take you on a quick walk through the Conservatory. As a brief history lesson, the Conservatory was constructed 1933 and has become as much an icon of the beauty and history of the city as Fountain Square and the Suspension Bridge. The conservatory has 4 main rooms: the exhibit room, the desert house, the palm house, and the tropical house. Beside that, there is smaller orchid display and a bonsai display. If you are currently in the Cincinnati area, please stop in and see their annual Butterfly Show. The show this year as the theme of China: The Silk Road as most of the butterflies come from Asia.

I'm going to start in the exhibit room, which changes on a quarterly basis to match the season. The annual butterfly show is during the spring. This was my first year of attendance and it was worth the price of admission ($6). The butterflies were everywhere and every color of the rainbow. I tried to snap pictures of as many as possible with my little digital camera, but there was one type that I couldn't get. It was a large butterfly with bright blue wings edged in black. They flocked together and swooped around the room, never seeming to land. They're called Morpho (Morpho peleides), but I simply called them the elusive blue. I couldn't get butterflies to land on my hand, but they liked my brown shirt. Don't worry, all the butterflies were quite tame and friendly. I didn't hear of anyone getting bitten, though I did get charged by some aggressive butterflies a couple times. However, I think they were just begin playful.

The next room is the Desert House. I like this room because I honestly think that this is the closest I will ever come to actually being in the desert. I could be wrong, but I don't imagine there will be many times in my life where I will find the excuse to go wandering through the desert. I've got this irrational fear of scorpions and poisonous snakes. I like the exotic plants here. They have this amazing mix of delicate blooms surrounded by three-inch needle-like thorns. Reminds me of some people I know. It's also amazing that these strange plants with their blooms and thorns can survive in such harsh, arid conditions. Again, reminds me of some people I know.

The Desert House leads into the Orchid Display, which is a tiny, moist room dripping orchids. I love orchids. They are the perfect, delicate flower. Orchids are like the ideal Victorian woman; delicate, fragile, beautiful, with no harsh edges or nasty thorns like roses. I love orchids, but I know better than to try to raise them myself. I don't have a green thumb. I'd be lucky to keep a cactus alive.

The Orchid Display leads into the Bonsai Display. This is another plant that I would never try to raise. Sure, you're only supposed to trim it once every year or so, but that doesn't make it low maintenance. What if it catches a disease? Or if a limb you were training suddenly dies or breaks? All those years of work.... I am happy just admiring another person's hard work and dedication to something so beautiful. The Bonsai Display is quite impressive as it has several plants in its collection that are older than me. Heck, I'm impressed with any plant that has lived longer than me. That's a lot of time to weather. The grove in the center of the picture is 20 years old. They have one that is nearly 100 years old, but I didn't see it this time.

From the Bonsai Display, we head into the Palm House. This room always makes me think of wandering through the rainforest. Have I been to the rainforest? No, but I like to imagine this is what it's like without the jaguars and the mosquitoes the size of VW Bugs. The center of the room has a little, meandering stream that leads to a two-story waterfall. A wooden bridge crosses the stream. There are exotic palms, banana trees, and beautiful blooms with their extravagant colors. I've written a few scenes set in this room including one fight scene. (No, these scenes are not for Nightwalker since my book is not set in Cincinnati.) This room just seems to ooze exotic inspiration.

The final room is the Tropical House, which is similar to the Palm House -- just with less palms. However, this room does have a cocoa plant as well as some massive koi. There are more flowering trees and plants in this room along with a pair of small ponds.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this brief tour. If you live in the Cincinnati area, please stop in and visit the Conservatory. And if you're ever passing through the city on vacation, put it on your itinerary. You can walk through the entire place in less than 30 minutes, but it's time well spent.

1 comment:

Freedom Star said...

The new layout gives your blog a fresh look :) And the conservatory looks beautiful, and quite peaceful. Thanks for sharing the pictures and giving a 'tour' of the place!