Flatness and Hotness

A pair of environmental consistencies remained constant throughout a recent trip to South Florida: flatness and hotness.

In the realm of the region’s civilized constructions, many cultural components of the Ft Lauderdale metro area seemed consistent, from my conditioned recognition of American consumer big-box chains (albeit built in pastel editions) to the general of pace I’d remembered of the place. Though, having resided in Northerly regions virtually my entire life, the presence of palm trees always comes as a novelty.

The calming palms weren’t the only trees that impressed me by their nature. The potted bonsai trees atop outdoor plinths at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden did not disappoint my expectation to stand in awe at such small-scaled specimens of organisms that are often over-towering when not maintained in miniature form. Perhaps the density enhances the inherent magnificence.

The path looping along the Morikami Museum’s lush grounds offered educational tidbits about Japanese garden models–for instance, the embracing of more nature-inspired aesthetics, as seen in the Modern Romantic Garden, as opposed to installments that fell more in accordance to traditional philosophies or rendered abstraction, like certain rock gardens.

Beyond learning what botanic species and aesthetic concepts could be successfully imported from Japanese garden culture to exist in the Floridian setting, the Morikami Museum offered the chance to see what types of reptiles and amphibians could thrive within a contained ecology as such.

Colossal koi and whiskery catfish slid throughout the water of the pond’s slimy shoal, while gliding turtles would occasionally prick their pointy snouts through the top line of murky aquatic limits.

On the land-side, four-legged, cold-blooded creatures scurried stones, soil, and brush before locating the perfect peak from which to perch.

The state’s flat surface was replete with water bodies, big and small, against horizons, a scene that was seen by standing along of circumference of the freshwater lake that the Morikami gardens looped around.

Chlorinated blue waters shimmered, surprisingly brilliantly, under the bright blue skies in a more manufactured form: a chain hotel’s onsite swimming pool back-dropped by a multistory car dealership.

What naturally came as less of a surprise was the way the Atlantic offered a saltier, splashier expanse of azure stretching far beyond the coastal limits of the locality’s (and country’s) continental bounds.

West and North

IMG_0815[1]Cramped in the big city with towering structures and clustered traffic, short buildings with wide, vast skies and empty parking lots offer a sense of accessible spatial freedom.

IMG_0814[1]A usual motel in Tonawanda, New York, can provide this unintended refuge after driving North, and then West, along New York State.

IMG_0816[1]Heading further North, and further West, into Niagara Falls, we journeyed to cross the national border to enter Ontario territory.

IMG_0820[1]As usual, they studied, but did not stamp our passports, to admit us into the land of wide, long highways.

IMG_0819[1]And tall, symmetrical structures of power.

IMG_0821[1]In Barrie, Ontario, we walked into the Spirit Catcher, quite imposing from up top.


To balance it out, we came across an unimposing feline, a novel member of its species that appeared to been bred half hairless, half hairy and fully wrinkled.

IMG_0831[1]Another trip landed us at Wasaga Beach, the world’s largest freshwater sandy stretch.

IMG_0832[1]Though it was not so bustling on a cool weekday.


But to find peace anywhere, there is always the natural environment. To be inquisitive in the woods, you can always ponder about the age of it, such as the abundance of short, thin trees show a sign of a young forest (without actually cutting a trunk to count the rings).