The Chicago Botanic Garden: Full of life, love and watermelon raptors

The Chicago Botanic Garden: Full of life, love and watermelon raptors
I do my best Willy Wonka impression. (Photo by Christy LaFave Grace)

Last weekend, my wife and I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden. While it's not in Chicago (it's in Glencoe) and the word "garden" doesn't nearly do it justice, it is very botanic (botanic, of course, being the Latin word for "full of allergens").

Luckily, all of the tree pollen in the Chicago area had already wreaked complete and utter destruction on my sinuses a few weeks ago so I'm fairly certain my body now is either completely resistant to tree pollen or is entirely composed of it. Either way, I was ready to hang out with nature without feeling the need to sneeze all over it. Which I'm sure nature appreciated. If there was a Hallmark card for not sneezing on living things, one would be enroute to me as I write.

With my sinuses behaving, I could enjoy the Chicago Botanic Garden in all its glory. And I would argue that it's at its gloriest (maybe not the best word I've ever made up) in mid-spring. The flowers have just woken up and are ready to start their day. The vegetable garden is starting to come along. The apple trees are in the midst of a mid-blossom spectacular.

In fact, I stuck my face into an apple tree just to bask in its new life. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one basking.

"Why, hello Mr. Bee. Um, is this your tree? It is, isn't it? Crap."

I have a thing about bees – that thing being they have needles in their butt and I don't like having butt needles stuck into my skin. As such, I preceded to dash as quickly as possible to the safety of not by a tree. Luckily, Mr. Bee seemed not to care. Unluckily, the other people in that area think I'm crazy. (Honestly, though, I probably care more about what Mr. Bee thinks of me.)

After that, I kept my distance from the trees. But there is plenty of other plant life to visit in the Chicago Botanic Garden. My wife and I walked and walked and walked as we toured the grounds, eventually coming to the prairie area – which typically has fewer visitors. It was nice to get a chance to spend some quality time with my wife in such a beautiful area. It was time to say something romantic:

"I bet raptors totally could hide here and we would never know they were there. Well, maybe not regular raptors. That would be scary. Maybe something like watermelon raptors."

My wife, who – after almost 10 years of knowing me – is used to me saying insane things, kept her hand in mind. She knew what I was really saying:

"Thank you for suggesting going to the Chicago Botanic Garden today. This is wonderful, and I love you."

We then continued to walk through the prairie, smiling, a herd of watermelon raptors slowly trailing behind us.

• Going for Gusto is a blog by Joe Grace that looks for the awesome in life. Please support Going for Gusto by liking the Facebook page at Facebook.com/GoingForGusto.

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