Sometimes, life tries desperately to to tell your mind your body needs a break. Stubbornly, you work yourself into the ground, losing valuable sleep and peace of mind. Of course, you’re completely aware that you’re doing it until you’re given the opportunity to stop and smell the orchids. Why orchids? Well, because I recently attended the Orchid Festival at Longwood Gardens. Even if you’re not a plant enthusiast, gardens are a great place for calm. At times, that’s all you need to set yourself right.
There is something about a walk through an old estate (or at least the gardens of one) that feeds the soul exactly what it needs to move on. Lately, I haven’t exactly felt like myself. The stresses of money, random bouts of grief, and worries about the future have certainly played their part recently. I began to feel like I was unraveling at the seams — still sewn together, but with the stitches coming loose.
I had no idea that I’d find the answers I needed looking at photos from this recent trip.
Why I Love Orchids
Orchids are one of the most fascinating plants on Earth in my book. There are so many different varieties, each of them distinct and beautiful. They can grow pretty much anywhere that isn’t extremely hot or cold. And I actually just learned that Vanilla is a type of orchid! The more you know, right?
Orchids have the ability to stun you, because there’s always a species or color you’ve never seen before, even when they’re all gathered in one room. In many ways, they remind me of humanity. Every single one is different, but they are all beautiful in their own right. They can adapt to pretty much any part of the world, except in the extreme hot and cold. They are also purposeful, many varieties producing the ingredients of perfumes, medicines, and even baking ingredients (still wowed by the Vanilla, can you tell?). And you know what? Their roots are resilient, having been around for millions of years.
People, too, are resilient, unique and beautiful. But sometimes we get too caught up in our own existence. We forget to care about the world around us — nature included.
Adventures at Longwood Gardens
It was a beautiful day when we went to the Orchid Festival. It was in the 70s in February! I couldn’t believe it. It was the perfect day for breathing in the air, walking through the meadows, and finding the beauty around you. We walked through the grounds before stopping for lunch. After we grabbed sandwiches and soup from the cafe, we explored the buildings with all the orchids in their glory.
It was a sight to be seen.
If you live close by, you have to go. Seriously, I was mesmerized. If you don’t, find an estate or gardens near you. I assure you if there is a cost to get in, it is well worth it. Even if you’re in the kind of rut that you don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone. Trust me. Force yourself. It will help pick you up out of it.
Nature is Good for the Soul
Whenever I don’t feel like myself, I find that taking a meeting with myself in nature is the first thing I can do to put myself to rights. I may be resilient, but the wounds that are created by the stresses of life need healing just as a cut on your hand would. Everyone needs time to reflect and be one with themselves without the distractions of the every day hustle. Going to Longwood Gardens reminded me of that. It was so crowded that day, and yet I still felt like I was getting re-acquainted with myself and my love for nature.
I felt so inspired by it days later that I decided I was done with running on the treadmill (which I HATE). No, I’m going to do all my running outside from now on. I’m going to run/walk (because let’s be honest, I’m super out of shape) outside, among nature. I’m going to refuse to lose that connection with myself I feel when I’m among plants, rocks, and trees on a trail.
Nature gives me this excruciating quiet that brings me closer to myself. It’s right on the cusp between “Why didn’t I bring my earbuds?” and the sound of crackling leaves, birds chirping, or whatever nature surrounds you. Push through that, and you’ll find the peaceful side of it.
Do yourself a favor. Go for a walk. Smell the orchids, roses, daisies, or whatever wildflowers you find and tell me all about it in the comments below!
Until next time–
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