Winter on the farm means pulling on my heavy insulated overalls, breaking through frozen water bucket after frozen water bucket, lugging hay out to barren pastures, and a host of other frigid, less-fun chores that often leave me dreaming of a warmer escape. Luckily there is one nearby that I can always count on, offering chilled bones and runny noses some tropical humidity, lush flora, and soft white light from every direction. That's the Botanic Garden at Smith College.
I spent the 20 degree morning on Saturday getting the horses set up for the day out in their frosted pasture (they don't mind), and arrived home chilly but game to finish a little last minute holiday shopping with Jake in downtown Northampton. The weekend before Christmas, you can imagine the chaos. Pushing through Thornes at noontime I was still pretty frozen and feeling sleepy. We made the executive decision that the only good, right place to be in that town at that moment was the Botanic Garden.
Passing through the first door to the Warm Temperate House, the first deep breath of dewy air is like a drug. How had we forgotten August so quickly? Layers are shed in the heat, attention turned to the omnipresent plant life. Every shade of green, every strange variety, blooming from the ground, creeping along walls, and cascading from the ceiling.
The greenhouses became a labyrinth, and we wandered along the paths from glass door to glass door. The stillness was such a relief after being caught up in a swell of panicked shoppers downtown, plants oblivious to the number of days until Christmas.
I felt so much better after submerging in that tropical cleanse for an hour, fingers, toes, and mood thoroughly defrosted. Green plant life, natural light, and warmth are actual medicine. (The happiest of memories are too. Jake and I went to the Botanic Garden on our first date.)
This winter, don't forget about the Botanic Garden. Treat yourself to a little time in there and suddenly spring won't seem so far away.