It’s always fun to go downtown to see the professional flower displays that are laid out for our enjoyment throughout Chicago’s Loop and Magnificent Mile. Those spectacular splashes of color contrast so beautifully with the glass and concrete buildings and lend a wonderland feeling to bustling traffic that would otherwise be all too overwhelming.
It’s easy to forget that there are other delightful pockets of natural beauty tucked away in various unexpected places throughout the city that we can enjoy year round. One of my favorites, is the Garfield Park Conservancy. It’s one of those places that you can drive right past without even noticing it. And, if you’re on the Lake Street "L" you may not even see it if you blink your eye.
At the Conservancy you can spend an hour or two and absolutely forget that you’re in the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities surrounded by boarded up buildings and run-down houses.
Each time I visit I’m reminded about just how magnificent nature is…and how well a wide variety of plants, big and small, can thrive in a very limited space. For me it’s the a miniature characterization of what the world could be if we all once learned to live together. Here trees with leaves so large that an adult can hide behind one of them live in harmony with tiny plants no bigger than your hand. Rare tropical plants and prehistoric ferns live happily together. Children are encouraged to touch while young and old alike are encouraged to enjoy public and private events in elegant natural surroundings.
It’s a fantastic example of what life on this earth could be if we weren’t so busy fighting wars and looking for ways to conquer and control each other. The beauty is in how well so many different plants can thrive and flourish even in very tight proximity with each other. I suspect we humans could too. If…..