“We’re walking through a tunnel of trees.”
That’s what I heard a father say to his son. And that’s exactly how I felt as I began the walk from the parking lot into the Huntington Library.
I was first introduced to the Huntington by someone I dated. And maybe it was the person I was with, but I really didn’t appreciate the place as much as I do now. For now, when I come to the Huntington, I take a deep breath. I close my eyes, inhale deeply, and exhale slowly. Suddenly, I’m in another world. The high-speed freeway, the big rigs merging dangerously close - none of that is relevant now. For now there’s quiet and open spaces and greenery.
Being the people-watcher I am, I find fascination all around me. Not just in the collections housed here, but in the people who come to the Huntington. People who choose to visit wearing high heels and mini skirts. In tennis shoes and big floppy hats. In ripped jeans and motorcycle boots. Pushed in strollers and pushed in wheelchairs.
Truthfully, though, I come to see her. Pinkie. After navigating the maze through opulent dining rooms and sitting rooms, I find her, waiting for me. She is floating. Ready to take off and soar into the clouds. Her white dress flutters, her pink sash and ribbons dance in the breeze. Her brown hair escapes from her bonnet. Her steady gaze never wavers. Pinkie first captured my attention when I was a young girl. So much so, that a reproduction of Pinkie hangs in my living room. I’ve grown accustomed to her there; I forget to pay attention to her, to give her the kind of attention she deserves. But at the Huntington, in all her grand splendor, I sit and gaze and marvel at my Pinkie.
I stroll through the rose garden and find myself lacking in adjectives to describe their scents and hues. I smile at their names - “Hot Cocoa” and “Queen Nefertiti.”
I rest under an “umbrella” tree - how else do I describe the far-reaching tree, with the oval-shaped leaves, that shelters me from the warm sun.
Here, there is a suspension of time and place, an opportunity for me to think, imagine, and remember. I find peace and contentment here. And I wonder why I don’t return more often. Because of traffic, and schedules, and “to-do” lists - all the things that make a trip here necessary in the first place.