Chicago Part 2: Morton Arboretum
If you happen to find yourself in the Lombard area of Chicago and you like the outdoors, it’s worth visiting the Morton Arboretum.
While Dan was learning a few new Swing moves, I ventured out in the late afternoon to check it out.
The Arboretum is set back from a semi-busy local highway and is set up as almost a cross between a botanical garden and a state park. There are a variety of hiking and walking trails of varying length and difficulty and even a few unique items such as sculptures (the Columns by the Conifers; scarecrows made by some local elementary students) and bodies of water (a walking pond by the entrance; some wetlands/marsh areas).
The grounds are replete with trees and vegetation from all over the country and the world. Perhaps my two favorite sections were the trees from Korea and the Maples (classic, I know), though the Conifers were certainly robust and gorgeous as well.
For those who have spent time in a deciduous forest walking trails or just wandering, you’ll immediately recognize the deliciously earthy smell of the vibrant undergrowth, lush trees, and trails covered in wood chips. The clean air and quiet clearings are worthwhile in and of themselves, and certainly harken to the writings of Frost and Thoreau though Chicago is a bit West of New England.
I feel at home surrounded by nature, as though I could just lie down and feel absorbed by the raw earth and caressed by the wind. Being at the Arboretum certainly brought back all such feelings, and reminded me that even in a time when so much of our lives is focused on getting from one location and task to the next, reconnecting with our environment deserves our time too. I’m not talking trading in a loft apartment for a tree house (though that could be fun!), I’m merely suggesting that reminding ourselves of our humanity and affiliation with nature is gratifying (for me, anyway). Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so, as on the afternoon I visited, near a “Life is Beautiful” sculpture, a couple was taking their wedding photographs.
At any rate, should you ever find yourself in the Western suburbs of Chicago, or just desirous of a taste of nature – check out the Morton Arboretum.