Recently I enjoyed the best evening I’ve had in a long time. While I love my husband and daughter dearly, this time was spent with my dear friend Stephanie Stamm. We first met in Chicago many years ago and later we became roommates, sharing my condo located near Foster and Sheridan roads just off of Lake Shore Drive. Work had me moving to the Atlanta area and shortly thereafter Stephanie moved to Michigan. She was one of my bridesmaids and a dear friend.
Life and distance separated us and communication dwindled to the occasional Christmas card. In 2012, we both published our first books and visited together briefly in Michigan. This was enough to renew our friendship and we kept in touch via emails, Facebook, and the occasional telephone call. She later joined Writing Wranglers and Warriors and our ties deepened.
Earlier this year an amazing thing happened: Stephanie moved to Atlanta! I was so excited. Just having her back in my life helped me recapture some parts of me that were shuffled to the side in the face of marriage and motherhood. I wouldn’t change my life, but it has been nice to reconnect with someone who knew me before I became a wife and mother.
Despite our new proximity, my life and responsibilities has kept me from seeing Stephanie as much as I’d like. We rectified this issue with a recent visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the “Bruce Munro Light in the Garden” exhibition.
I drove to her condo to pick her up and had a lovely tour of her new home. One of her cats came out to say hi, but kept her distance. The other cat was shy and only evidenced by the cat litter boxes in the bathroom. We chatted a bit, mostly me actually, and then we headed to the gardens. The exhibit is from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm and we had the perfect evening for it.
We started with the Canopy Walk and stood on the walkway high above the Forest of Light installation while Stephanie shared stories of her life over the past 10 years or so. As we watched the 30,000 lights below brighten in the gathering dusk, fireflies began to flit between the bulbs. We continued down the walkway and into the lights, following paths until we found ourselves at one of the many water features of the garden. This one is particularly lovely, a series of ponds with waterfalls connecting them and a large plant sculpture of a woman with water pouring from her hands.
Next we went to a geodesic dome installation called Beacon and then into the Fuqua Conservatory to see the “Eden Blooms” installation and enjoyed the sounds of the frogs as well as the lights. In the next room were three sculptures called “Three Degrees.” There was some great oldies music playing in the room with them so we danced a bit before moving on to the orchid room. Throughout this all, Stephanie and I talked, reinforcing bonds that had stretched too thin.
Feeling peckish, we stopped at the Garden House Café for drinks and a snack. We shared an amazing repast of fresh bread, heirloom tomato salad with sherry vinaigrette dressing, and a board of locally made cheeses.
The hour grew late and we realized we’d missed an installation near the Conservatory so we went back to see the Water Towers. The final installation, Swing Low, we had seen on our way in and again on our way out.
At some point in our wanderings I realized that my cheeks hurt from smiling. I missed my friend more than I had realized and was rejuvenated by our adventure together. I dropped Stephanie back at her condo and drove home, still smiling and happy, already planning our next outing.
Learn more about me at: http://www.erinfarwell.com