Glass in the garden

I promised this post a few weeks ago after my trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. As friends and I wandered through the garden, we encountered workers installing glass art pieces. Huge cardboard boxes and ladders sat alongside flowers. The workers had completed a few of the projects but most weren’t finished.

I came across the first sculpture, not realizing it was part of a garden-wide project. It looked striking but perhaps out of place in a garden.

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I like the magic spot in this picture where one of the glass tips is aglow with sunlight.

It occurred to me something larger might be happening when I noticed these glass apples: Continue reading

An abundance of stress, the stress of abundance

Happy Thanksgiving to you! (Most of my readers are from the US, and so I hope the rest of you non-US readers will also celebrate tomorrow with gratitude, even if it doesn’t mean family gatherings and eating too much turkey.)

I only have time for a short post today, and I’m guessing you may not have time to read a longer post anyway. Family is coming, and my to-do list doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter. I was running errands this morning trying to figure out how to avoid letting stress overwhelm me this holiday season.

That desire to get control over what feels like an over-abundance of holiday stress juxtaposed itself with the image of a woman and child waiting with some small suitcases in the vestibule of homeless shelter where I volunteer with a group of church friends once a month. When I was there on Monday, it was a white flag night, meaning the temperature was expected to drop below freezing, and shelters in the area would try to accommodate greater numbers of homeless for the night.

The air was full of scramble and buzz and extra activity as folks waited for word of where they could spend the night – there, at another shelter or out on the street. Residents of the shelter added to the hubbub as they sorted through bags and bags of donated coats that crowded the small lobby, grouping the coats by size to make them easier to distribute.

The scramble that night was entirely different, a more dire kind of scrambling than the sort you may be experiencing today: the scramble for the last trip to the grocery store, or the scramble to wrap up work early, or the scramble to pass everyone else on the highway so you can get to Grandma’s house first, or the scramble to figure out just how everything will fit into a refrigerator that suddenly feels two sizes too small.

Both types of scramble bring stress, but one represents a stress of abundance, a stress that comes from having the option to run to three different grocery stores for your Thanksgiving meal supplies and the option to go to the big box store for extra guest towels and the option to fight traffic to drive to visit relatives near or far.

For too many, though, those options of abundance simply do not exist, and their stressors may mean the difference between life and death on white flag nights. There’s no money for groceries or towels. There’s no car. There are no guests coming to visit because there is no home.

So might I encourage you to take a deep breath when stress threatens to overwhelm you in the coming days? I plan to use those moments as a way to offer up a quick prayer of gratitude for the abundance that is causing the stress. In addition to prayers of thanks, might you consider a donation of food or time or money to your own local shelter? It may be just what you need to put your own abundance of stress into perspective.

Before I close, let me say it again: Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for you stopping by for a visit today and would love to leave you with a couple of photos from the Orchid House at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, a visit earlier this year that still leaves me filling grateful for the beauty I found there.

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What are you most grateful for this holiday?

Playing with plants

Fall means racing season for my husband and me, and this past weekend we headed to Atlanta for a race near there. We arrived early enough on Friday that we had some free time in the afternoon, and so we headed over to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

In previous trips, we had never carved out enough time to visit for long enough to justify the steep admission fee. I was thrilled to go, especially when I saw what was waiting for us there: a special exhibit of larger than life plant sculptures, called mosaiculture (combining the words mosaic + horticulture).

I have never seen anything like this before, but I love the idea of playing with plants to create mosaic patterns and larger-than-life pieces of art. This living art is the work of Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal, and the Atlanta exhibit is the first major one in the US.

If you live near Atlanta, I highly recommend getting to the botanical gardens before the exhibit closes on October 31. (And if you’re with the Atlanta Botanical Garden, isn’t there a way you could keep a few of the sculptures permanently?)


This trip was all about packing light, and so I only had my new cell phone with its improved camera on it. I was pleasantly surprised with the way the photos of the mosaiculture exhibit came out. I couldn’t wait to share them with you!


One of two giant butterflies at the garden, this was the first of the sculptures I saw.


At first, I thought this was a horse, but then I saw the unicorn’s horn.


What’s not to love about this shaggy dog?


A happy giant blackberry. I couldn’t get the light right for a good photo of his friends the strawberry and the blueberry.


One of many cute rabbits invading a garden


My favorite of the rabbits


This one is titled Earth Goddess. She’s 25 feet tall and weighs 29 tons! There’s a lot of steel and concrete underneath that natural facade.


To help you get an idea of her scale


These fish rotate together on an axis, and they are aptly named “Dancing fish.”


Hssss. One of two cobras facing each other as they tower over the garden visitors.


A detail from one of the cobra’s tails. Now you understand why it’s called mosaiculture, right?


The second cobra, with a side view of its hood

Ever since being terrified by the cobras in the animated Rikki-Tikki-Tavi that played on television once a year when I was a child, I have not loved cobras. But I actually think the cobras were my favorite of the sculptures. Which sculpture is your favorite?