Yesterday I had a picnic with the girls in the rose garden at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens.
Under a tree in the rose garden on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. It was the perfect picnic spot.
I’ve been to the rose garden many times and I wrote a post about it once, a million years ago. I hadn’t planned to blog about yesterday’s outing. But it was such an enjoyable experience that I decided it was blog-worthy. Especially because, for the first time ever, I got some decent photos of the amazing roses there.
Dark pink rose, about to open.
Thanks to my friend Nina for spotting this, the only purple rose in the entire garden. That lady bug crawled into the frame at exactly the right moment.
Perfect red rose.
Same shot as above, cropped.
We arrived mid-morning , spread our blankets, and chowed on croissants, cheese, hot cross buns, Cadbury Whispers (Malted Milk Balls to the Americans among you, Maltesers to the Brits), and — in a feeble attempt to include one healthy option — fruit. It stayed perfectly cool in the shade as the sun heated up. We were among the only visitors in the garden. As the afternoon wore on, it became harder and harder to leave.
My view for much of the afternoon.
When I first bought my DSLR camera, the rose garden was one of the first places I went to try it out. I quickly discovered that photographing roses is harder than I thought. The shapes and colors never seemed to translate from real life into my photos.
But yesterday, strolling around the garden in the blazing midday sun, I got what I’ve been looking for.
Simple white rose, tinged with pink.
Red, orange, yellow.
Rose photos aside, I wanted to blog about yesterday because it represents the way I’ve been feeling lately. Over the last week or two, I’ve started to feel alive again. I can have a picnic with my friends, relax, and enjoy myself, without just going through the motions and feeling like I’m faking it. I can go an hour or two, maybe even several hours, without being ambushed by crushing sadness. I can bring up Jon in a conversation and not worry that I’ll begin to cry without warning. I can envision a time in the future when I might feel happy again.
It’s a good feeling. I’m not ready to feel happy yet. But I’m no longer hollow inside. It’s good to feel that happiness is possible. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure that it was.
Thanks to all my Jozi friends for coaxing me back to life, bit by bit. You don’t even realize you’re doing it, but you are.
A happy sign in the rose garden.
The Jozi Botanical Gardens are perfect for picnicking. For those of you who have the luxury of doing so, I recommend going on a weekday when it’s quiet and peaceful. Just be aware that if you go before noon, the sprinklers will be on in the rose garden and you might struggle to find a dry place to sit.