Serendipity was going to the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit yesterday---to start an annual pilgrimage during the week of Don’s and my birthdays and anniversary---and finding out the botanical gardens and sculpture park hold art classes and workshops. Last winter I spent a couple of hours online trying to find myself a leisure time art class in the area with no success. And yesterday they just fell in my lap at a point in my life when I will have the time (and hopefully the money) to get back to one of my first passions in life---drawing and painting. But I need to do it in baby steps; I have to know, first, that I can actually spend several hours with strangers without breaking out crying. I’ll start by becoming a member of the gardens and learn my way around the place---it’s huge, 132 acres---and maybe wait until fall to actually sign up for a workshop.
Yesterday’s pilgrimage turned out to be the life affirming experience I had hoped it would. It was a bright, sunny day and the minute I sat down to watch the butterflies in flight overhead and all around me I felt at peace. One particular 3-4 inch blue butterfly kept trying to land of people and I was envious of others wearing brightly colored, floral blouses. I don’t own one, or picture myself ever buying one, but I did wish I had purchased the floral patterned summer purse I rode around in my shopping cart recently before returning it back to the rack. It’s going to take baby steps to updating my wardrobe as well. But one way or another, I’ll have a butterfly attracting flower with me when I return to this exhibit next year. After an hour with the butterflies I took an hour tram ride around to see the outdoor sculptures. On the ride I learned that this park ranks in the top 30 Must-See Museums in the world. And it only takes me 20 minutes to get there!
It wasn’t the first time I’d been there. A few years back I took Don to see the butterflies but it was too hard to get him and his wheelchair around with my old lady lack of energy for pushing. We’d also been there four months after his stroke. It was a graduation-from-rehab field trip and his physical and occupational therapists were there to get him standing up just long enough for a photo-op underneath the park’s signature bronze piece---a 24 foot bronze horse. It was supposed to symbolize what can happen when you never give up on your dreams, because this colossal horse was 500 years in the making. I wonder how often I’ll have to see that sculpture before I can look at it without tearing up. We were all so proud of Don that day.
And since this essay is about serendipity, I’d be remiss for not pointing out that the inspiration for this huge bronze sculpture came from the drawing board of Leonardo deVinci, a commissioned piece that fell through due to war breaking out and the bronze being needed for other purposes. It was pure serendipity the day the founder of our local botanical garden and sculpture park happened to see those deVinci drawings while visiting a bronze foundry where he was checking on a little piece he had commissioned. He was intrigued by the detailed deVinci plans, and the story behind them, and he was able to help put things into motion to bring this massive sculpture to fruition. That was serendipity power at its finest! ©