Happy Hopeful New Year

Swirling Snow on Garden’s Central Axis

Now that most of the hubbub and hurry that surrounds our holiday season is beginning to easy, it is time to take stock and then look forward towards another new year. While life has been good, I am especially hopeful about 2023. For once in a long time this New Years day is not overshadowed by some existential threat. Not that many of the old troubles are not still out and about, but this time around they seem somewhat muted, almost neutered. There is still the usual cast of villains lurking out there in the shadows, but they seem much weaker than before. Still out there, but no longer commanding my attention, much less generating any fear. What is more, today is a sunny day! Later today, Anne and I will renew one of our resolutions and go for a walk in the park. We will get outside, enjoy this world and dive right into this new year.

Shaw House

Shaw House

Pictured is Henry Shaw’s country house that is part of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. As part of the Garden Glow light show it is lit via projection. This year’s show featured a new projected light display that is more sophisticated than its predecessor and prettier to view. As with the previous projection system, only the original part of the house, the portion built by Shaw is illuminated. The unlit portion of the house was added later after Shaw’s death. Located nearby is Shaw’s townhouse. It was originally built in what is now downtown Saint Louis. In his will, after his death, he had instructed that his city home be moved brick-by-brick out to what was then the country and reassembled next to his country house. Like his country house it too was added onto. It now functions as an office building for the administration of the Garden. Henry Shaw was a very successful businessman who made his fortune as an outfitter for pioneers headed west to the Californian gold fields.

Glow

Climatron Lights Display

Yesterday, taking advantage of the day’s balmy weather, Anne and I went to the Garden Glow last night. The temperature was still in the sixties when we later left after nine, a far departure and pleasant change from the deep freeze that we experienced earlier in the week. We were not alone in taking advantage this unusually fine weather. The Garden was very crowded. This is the tenth year that they have held this holiday lights display, and it has improved with age. The original Glow comprised half-a-million lights. This year’s display has over two million. This show features a new display in front of the Climatron, with an amazing computer-controlled lighting display, and a new projected animation on the Shaw house. Many of the old favorites like the tunnel of lights were back too. The first time we went through the display it was so crowded that it was like shuffle city and not all that much fun. We went back around after all new entries to the gardens had been closed and it was much more enjoyable. With last week’s very cold weather, the ponds in front of the Climatron froze solid. It was so cold that the Garden had to shutter the whole show for two additional nights just before Christmas. People took advantage of the cold weather to walk out onto the ice for better photos, but by last night the ice had turned rotten and staff were posted to save guests from themselves. The remaining ice detracted from the reflected beauty of the synchronized lights.