I was given a homework assignment from my journalism professor to go out and describe things in various ways. Listing items, and describing them with verbs and adjectives. Finding an aspect. Reacting to a thing. My only limitation was doing this in a single room.
And what better room to describe than the Geyser Conservatory at Manito Park? It’s a special place to me. It calms me down and it makes me happy. It provokes my allergies in which every spring and summer I regret. The air is humid, the fans are humming, and the colors refracting in my eyes are vibrant and luscious. A retina screen on a macbook pro can’t ever compare to this lively beauty.
I walked into the conservatory frozen to the bone. The windchill was hovering around -18 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact on my walk from the bus stop a man looked at me, bundled up with a scarf over his face he said, “you’re being as foolish as I?”
Of course. I wanted to do my homework assignment.
The fresh air and the smell of green welcomed me as I opened the glass doors. Tulips and lilies greeted me. Unfortunately, the smell of pollen greeted me and the sneezing began.
While I let my camera warm up, I shed off my coat and my sweater, my scarf and my hat. What aspect was I going to focus on? How could I describe things? I’ve been sitting on this bench and nothing was coming to me. So I just started taking photos. I did what I normally did when I came here.
All the thoughts swirled in my mind. “These plants look like fire.” “I totally get why this plant is called ‘Bird of Paradise’ it looks just like one!” And that aspect question? Why not describe this room from the perspective of a macro lens? Everyone has an idea what a greenhouse looks like, but not everyone takes notice of the smallest things. At least with my camera, I’ve come to love the little hairs on plants’ petals and stems. I like seeing pollen looking like powder. The veins in petals resemble my own. In fact, plants look a lot like humans, from veins to hairs. They’re worn and torn just like us.
I guess these details are why I enjoy macro. There’s much much more to see than we do at a glance. Taking up macro has made me more observant. And I believe that knack is something truly needed in a time when our attention spans are shortening so quickly.
Overall, I am so thankful for this conservatory. It allows me to practice my hobby. It can be -20 degrees and I can still walk into this little piece of paradise and be warm. I can see the cacti and still wish to never fall in their beds of spines.
It’s my small slice of happiness.