every day is sunday

At the Huntington

Once or twice a year I take a trip to the Huntington. It’s my place. It’s where I go to rejuvenate, to revive, and to inspire myself. I’ve had a similar kind of place in every city I’ve lived in: the Nelson-Atkins Museum growing up in Kansas City, the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston, the Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn. It’s always someplace old and regal, with expanses of gardens to roam and shaded benches where I can sit and write, my journal spread open across my lap.

I hadn’t been to the Huntington since last summer, since a long hot day back in June when life seemed particularly in flux. That day, the heat of summer made the gardens somewhat unbearable–the succulents felt parched, the humidity of the greenhouse too swampy and the roses were all burned at the edges and browning. The gardens seemed to reflect the dryness and exhaustion of my own days.

But last Saturday, nearly a year later, everything was just beginning to bloom. All the colors were fresh and unfaded and there was a certain lushness that hung in the air. The roses were blooming so vibrantly that their romance became a real and very tangible thing. I greeted the long, grassy corridor of statues like they were old friends, each one with their own personality and expression. There was a quiet magic that surrounded the gardens this time, an unassuming feeling of perfection.

I think what I love most about these places–or rather, about the ritual of visiting them–is the measure of life they provide. Even despite the change of seasons or company, a place like the Huntington is faithful and constant. It’s simply my own perspective that changes, my own way of seeing, the ebb and flow of my engagement with the world around me…