I drove to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory yesterday – a place I love, but which has most definitely not been within the confines of my driving territory until now. (Yes I have a driving phobia. In fact, this little excursion is the first item I can scratch off my 101 challenges in 1001 days list.)
To be honest, I aim to use the conservatory to help manage my mood disorder. When winter closes in, and the cold sinks into my bones so deeply that even a scalding bath can’t warm me, I will make pilgrimages to the conservatory where I will bask in the sultry, loam-scented heat that can keep even orchid and papaya plants alive through vicious Minnesota winters.
My biolar II condition is dramatically affected by the seasons. I tend toward hypomania in the summer, and toward depression in the winter. October – like May – wreaks havoc on my equilibrium. The unpredictability of my moods at such transitional times is difficult for my family and friends, but I find the fluctuations exhilarating. I’ve noticed the winds are particularly fitful in these most seasonally iconic months. It amuses me to imagine I’m just dangling and spinning in each gust.
October, though, is harder for me than May. Even as I revel in the season of harvest and Halloween, I am alert to winter’s approach. Today was sunny and warm, but when I crossed into a patch of thin shade, the breeze turned chill enough to bite at my cheeks and fingers. I hurried into the sunlight and was gratified that I blazed the trail to my intended sanctuary yesterday.
On a related, creepier note, I did a bit of research when I returned from Como Park. It seems the land – which was purchased by the city of St. Paul in 1873 – has some interesting stories attached to it. I didn’t know it at the time, but my dog and I practiced tight heeling next to a lake in which a box containing an outlaw’s body was sunk, so that the flesh could rot away from the bones before the skeleton was given to an anatomist. I may have inadvertently stumbled onto a good site for a paranormal investigation. More on that in future posts. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of The Dog, gazing at the conservatory.