This past weekend I did two things that I’ve never done before: I went to a garden fair, and then I went to an air show. (I also partied with a bunch of three-year-olds, but I do that on a semi-regular basis as an auntie.)
Both were experiences that I perhaps would’ve never chosen for myself in my past NYC city girl life. But I’m in the great vast stretches of the Midwest for much of the summer till this fall and winter. And lately I’ve been keen on seeing and doing things outside my usual purview, even if they’re slightly odd or unlikely. The unlikelier, the better, I say!
I have to confess, though, that I actually really wanted to go to the garden fair. Maybe it’s because I started growing forget-me-nots, or maybe it’s because I really like learning the names of trees as part of my summer to-do list, or maybe it’s because I have such fond memories of visiting my local arboretum, where it was held at.
But the garden fair was such a lovely event, despite the relentless sunshine and 90-degree heat! One thing that’s so nice about garden shows: they smell wonderful. All those columbines, begonias, lilies, irises, roses, herbs, lavendar, verbena…my nose was in pure, magical heaven. Colors are just so pure when they’re on flowers.
And there’s something about plants and flowers that puts everyone in a good mood; I loved listening to all the older ladies chat with one another, sharing the fact that the herbs guy was selling real patchouli plant, or how succulents were selling for $8 a flat at a booth nearby.
Later I wandered in the arboretum, admiring the landscaping and all the trees, dreaming about what trees or bushes I’d plant if I had an estate of my own. That’s the thing about plants, trees and flowers: they kind of alter your sense of time. It’s amazing to me that someone can create a landscape, and perhaps not even live to see its full flowering, since trees can take so long to mature.
The next day I went to my hometown’s air show at the local airport. It’s one of those things where people hang out, eat hot dogs and sweet potato fries and brats and watch aviation demonstrations. Not my usual thing, and I wasn’t going to go at first, but I was curious about what it would be like on an airfield. They had giant planes dotting the airfield, and people gathered under the wings, escaping the hot, hot sun in the shade, as we sat and watched planes do all kinds of tricks in the sky above us.
Some were genuinely astonishing — one plane had a man that stood on its wing as it was up in the air, looping and flying about. But in another way, the show was a strange show of military strength and might, with parachuting demonstrations from the Navy, Army and Marines, and fighter jets from the Air Force making the air vibrate with their noise, dropping “bombs” that sent up huge plumes of smoke into the relentlessly sunny air. For a moment, I thought that this is what people hear and see when they’re being bombed. It truly was awe-inspiring, though — awe in the true sense of the word, of inspiring fear.
On the lighter side: here’s a bit from the birthday party with 3-year-olds!