When I imagined what Michigan looked like in the winter, it was something like this:
Turns out, as long as you put on long underwear, snow pants, sweaters, parka, hat, mittens and boots, it’s pretty fun to romp around outdoors in the snow on a sunny day. Even when temperatures are well below freezing.
But sometimes, the interminable stretches of cloudy days, intense (and not-so-intense) cold, snow and ice just start to *get* to me. Even though I put snow tires on my car, put a happy light in my living room and increased my dietary intake of Vitamin D, I begin to wonder if winter is my punishment.
To deal with the bleakness, I have been longingly poring over photos of gardens in high summer or ogling observations of tropical flora and fauna posted on iNaturalist.
After a rough few weeks, I think I have found another method of coping with Michigan winter: The Conservatory at the Matthei Botanical Gardens.
I had a meeting early on Friday morning in Ann Arbor, but decided to check out the Conservatory directly afterwards. The temperature on the thermometer on my car dashboard read 13 deg F (-11 deg C). I entered into the main lobby of the Conservatory and gradually unbundled from my coat and other insulating layers. (They provide a handy coat room to stash winter accoutrements.)
As I opened to the door to the conservatory itself, I was greeted with a blast of warm humid air and the smell of green growing things. Towering green palms and bright color pops came into focus. It felt like entry into another world.
My body (and my soul, too) soaked in the surrounding warmth, humidity and lushness of the tropical biome section. However, I couldn’t resist long before taking out my cell phone to record images to tell the story.
My amateur smartphone photography expedition made it through the temperate and desert biomes before I finally ran out of battery.
For more images of my brief escape from winter (and the strange organisms that live there!), you can check out Protopian Pickle Jar’s Flickr Album Conservatory at Matthei Botanical Gardens.