Sometimes I think the NC Arboretum is our second home. It's my default go-to location for when we need to get out of the house, walk, run, explore, see cool sculptures, watch the birds and the butterflies, rock in rocking chairs, and see what's blooming in a garden run by people who know what they're doing.
So when Maia had a no-nap day recently, and I was at my wits end, I put her in the car and headed to the arboretum. Frankly, I was hoping she'd fall asleep on the drive down and I could spend a quiet hour reading in the car before we explored. But she didn't, and we had fun anyway.
We usually enter through the garden gates with the bird and fish sculptures on them, but these days we have to go through these hoops (coming and going). The hoops are part of a newish exhibit there called Kaleidescope: Contemporary Landscape Sculpture. Another favorite sculpture is a large metal circle depicting butterflies and chrysalises.
We've developed our arboretum rituals over time. Maia always wants to play the gong andÂ we usually have a little snack in the cafe. We pet the lizard sculptures, smell the flowers, run criss-cross through the quilt garden, walk along a certain ledge, pick up little rocks in the bonsai garden, toss a coin into the pool… I don't know that eachÂ visit is all that memorable in itself, but I think they add up to a pretty good collective arboretum memory bank.
And, most of all, our trips are a reminder to me to slow down and let her experience her world.