Mother Goose was born for multi-tasking. Like most mothers, I have an innate desire and ability to accomplish more when there is more on the table to accomplish. Something just clicks inside my brain — perhaps in yours as well — when we discover a way to successfully manage objectives simultaneously. Ohmygooseness, I just get goosebumps when I think of the possibilities!
Last Friday was one of those deliciously satisfying multi-tasking days.
We live just four miles from one of Chicago’s most beautiful treasures, the Garfield Park Conservatory. It’s a gorgeous place — one of the oldest and largest conservatories in the world. I can barely contain myself in describing the wonder of hundred-year old trees and plants all under a glass roof.
However, the conservatory is surrounded by some pretty dicey neighborhoods. Many old geese are actually afraid to drive their cars through these neighborhoods in broad daylight. But you know Mother Goose — always ready for an adventure! So I grabbed my Kindle, my phone, and a bottle of water; I jumped on my bike and sailed down the street.
It was slightly overcast as I pedaled along the streets, past boarded up stores and grated windows and doors. I smiled at everybody who looked up from their business to see a goose riding a bike. Of all the wonders of the day, I’m sure I got more stares than anyone else in those neighborhoods. I waved my wings at the gangsters making their deals on the street corners, and they waved their handguns at me.
In no time at all and with no problems whatsoever, I arrived at my destination and grinned at my own audacity and faith to do this adventure without telling anyone where I was going. Maybe I was a goose on the lam, as they say…but that is neither here nor there. Time to relax and explore the beautiful environments of the conservatory.
As I walked into the Palm House, I smiled. There was a young lady at the Curiosity Cart, and she offered to tell me about where chocolate comes from. She had actual cacao beans and nibs and plenty of information for me. Sadly, she did not offer to give me any of her beans or nibs, so I stuck my beak in the air and walked away.
Strolling along under the fifty foot tall palm trees from around the world, my skinny goose legs began to protest all the exercise. I found a lovely quiet corner to sit for awhile and read my book. I’m blazing my way through The Hunger Games series, and couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Katniss next.
Just as I was getting to the good part in my book, along came a group of teenagers on a field trip. I had already observed a very quiet group of preschoolers passing silently by the palm trees, but this gaggle of teens was not very quiet, nor very polite. They questioned the relevance of a goose sitting under a palm tree reading a Kindle. Imagine! I shot them a look of consternation as I packed up my bags to waddle along to another private place. A goose needs privacy most of all when she is reading her Kindle.
I thoroughly enjoyed the desert room with all of its cacti and succulents, and I might have plopped down next to the agave, but again, the field trip crowd was quite distracting. The kids were adorable to Mother Goose, but their teacher was very sharp-tongued, and Mother Goose wanted to push her into a corner to feel a few of the natural barbs.
Instead, I headed out into the great outdoors to observe the gardens. I found a sign with an arrow — it said “This way to the Garfield Goats.” Intrigued, I followed the arrow, and it did indeed lead to the goat pen, but not a goat was in sight. Hmmmph… I did find some boxes of bees, and that was very interesting. Mother Goose is not afraid of bees in the least. And they posed for my camera.
The air was sweet and lush from the green grass and flowers — I could see waves of humidity rising in the sunshine. Such a blessing to have this verdant oasis in the middle of Chicago’s concrete and asphalt.
Back inside I found that the Fern Room had been reopened — the Conservatory suffered much damage last summer from a horrible hail storm, and the broken glass had fallen most severely in the beautiful Fern Room. Mother Goose loves the Fern Room! I especially love the waterfalls and the koi ponds. I found another quiet bench to park my backside, and once again pulled out The Hunger Games. There’s something so relaxing and peaceful about the sound of water falling — I was immediately transported into my wonderfully fictitious story. Don’t you just love getting lost in a storybook?
Too soon, too soon it was time to leave. As I unlocked my bike, I promised myself and the Conservatory that I’d be back sooner rather than later. Peddling home, I was radiant and all the pedestrians I met on my way couldn’t help but notice. A glowing goose on a bicycle — a sight for sore eyes. Many kind people greeted me along the way, saying “Hey beautiful!” and “Way to go, Mother Goose!” and “Lovely day for a ride!”
I accomplished much in those few short hours. My fresh air and exercise are very important to a goose. Getting away to rest and relax with a good book is vital to my imagination. Admiring the ferns, palms and cacti, I was reminded of what a big beautiful world we live in. My corner of the world is quite small, but on my bike, I can go places other people can only dream of seeing.
Mother Goose is truly blessed. Incidentally, I would never throw rocks at birds — that was just a catchy title to my story.