The ride takes about ten minutes and got me cold enough to first indulge in a coffee and 30 minutes of doodling in my sketchbook. Then I suit up again and wheel over to the campus and the greenhouses. I greet David, the caretaker and we talk about the weather and some plants he has given me in the past that need to be pruned. He coaches me through the process and soon I disentangle myself from human company and search for other forms of life to get to know.
I wander past banana trees and the Swiss Cheese plant and the Tea bushes to a room of fragrant orchids. Two species with sprays of brown and cream flowers are blooming. I choose a non-blooming Cytrapodium and warm up by drawing its stems and leaves (above, left).
I think that maybe it's time to head home but wander a bit further to a room filled with papyrus and rice and many aquatic plants. There are several pools and a small fountain. The air is moist and the sound of the trickling water is lovely. The pools are home to large and small goldfish. One pool has hundreds of small dark minnows. They float and dart about in a multi-level weaving of fish. I draw the school of fish and the varied layers of activity. It is very relaxing and is time well-spent. For those people who love to gaze at fish, this is the best and least pretentious place to get lost in imagining life as a fish.
With a wave I wish David a Happy New Year and cycle back home. Happy New Year to you too!