The headlines Sunday morning were filled with tales of anxiety. "AMERICA GRIEVES, TENSE AND WARY," the New York Times announced across its front page.
Maybe so. It seemed a good time to escape to the Chicago Botanic Garden where nature is, as always, just nature. We must not have been alone in this impulse, because it was about as crowded as we've ever seen it: part the perfect summer day, part the dire news, perhaps, part both a lily exhibit and a pepper festival going on at the same time.
As always the Garden was a slice of heaven, and not just for the plants. People of all ages, races, languages. "I'm not sure what that is—Romanian?" I whispered to my wife as we passed some murmuring Eastern European tongue. Lots of Russian, of Japanese. Babies in carriages, old folks in wheelchairs. A white, grandfatherly sort with white hair put a loving arm around an African-American boy, maybe 12, in a bright green soccer uniform and they ambled, talking. My fingers itched to whip out my iPhone and take a picture, but I decided not to intrude. Maybe taking an hour like this, to get away, is just another example of White Privilege. If it is, so be it, it was my privilege to take it and I am not ashamed to do so. This is how the world should be for everyone, how it could be, if we'd only let it
|"Red Hot" variety lily.|