Yesterday was a bizarrely warm day for March 9th here in the Boston area, in fact a record 76°. Unlike most people, I actually don’t like the unseasonably warm weather we’re having this winter. As a lover of the quietness and inwardness of winter, when I feel quite centered in my beloved home, I don’t like winter to end too soon. I have many projects yet to complete at home before the spring. The warm weather lately has pulled me off my center and made me restless, too early in the year. I’m afraid the disruption of our seasons is a very bad sign for our climate.
Nevertheless, it was fun to go off on an excursion on the train yesterday to Wellesley College. A friend was desperate to see some greenery, and I suggested the Wellesley College greenhouses. Years ago Jeremy Foss, professor of painting at MassArt, used to take his landscape painting class to the Wellesley greenhouses when it was too cold to work outside. Wellesley College has got to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and I also admire the institution a great deal. I’ve read a fair amount on the history of the women’s colleges and have a quirky interest in the topic. I didn’t go to a women’s college, but I wish I had. My great aunt Nora went to Wellesley and became an English teacher, so I have a slight family connection with the place.
It’s an easy train ride to Wellesley Square and a short walk through the village center to the edge of the campus. There was a watercolor class going on in the classroom of the greenhouses as we entered, and a small group of women from a senior living facility were departing, having had their tour. We were free to wander around the greenhouses by ourselves; no one else was there but a friendly gardener who was watering the plants and answered a few questions for us.
First we walked through the room with the cacti collection, which I don’t much care for, and then in the greenhouse, there it was–the touch of spring we had come for.
A river of rock in the center of the room led the eye into the scene. It was really delightful to see the yellow, pink, and white flowers, colors I adore, and to breathe in the spring fragrance.
The little greenhouses branched off in different directions. We saw lovely green seedlings in one area.
In the back were the tropical greenhouses, with massive plants growing up to the ceiling in the middle. There it was about 90° and steamy. This wasn’t my favorite environment to be in, but the variety of leaf forms was interesting and beautiful.
Before returning to Boston we had time to walk around the campus a bit and have a nice leisurely lunch at the café at the Davis Museum. They had the outdoor tables on the plaza already, and there was a class meeting around one of the tables. The sun was too hot for us –on March 9th!– so we sat inside. We only got a glimpse of Lake Waban, as we had a train to catch; it’s a nice walk for another time, and I especially like the rustic wooden benches in the little lookouts. March is certainly not the most beautiful time to see the campus, but the Gothic Revival and Elizabethan buildings are as magnificent as ever.
It was really a fun week-day excursion for two retired women, and as always a change of scene is so refreshing.