Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Huntington Wonderland

Dear Huntington Library Management,

With all due respect to the original founders, I suggest you change the name of this place to The Huntington Wonderland. I am aware of that one building filled with books, manuscripts, films and historical memorabilia, but the rest of your hundred-something acres are populated with botanical gardens, art galleries, wild geese, and sculptures of beautiful nude humans. Plus, the word "library" might put off some bibliophobes who are too lazy and too moronic to research what this Shangri-La has to offer aside from reading materials. These people may not sound like ideal visitors, but in fact, they are probably the ones most in need of cultural enrichment. You must not alienate them. I understand "wonderland" might sound too broad and somewhat silly. But that's exactly what this place is: a land full of wonders. Last but not least, I would like to share with you some photos from my last visit along with my gracious comments. Look at them carefully and tell me whether they resemble a library to you. Thank you for your time. I really hope you consider my humble suggestion. 

Your loyal patron

P.S. I did not feed any geese or pet any goslings. I must admit, though, that the temptation was hard to resist. 

Before I stepped foot into this desert garden, I'd never imagined one could develop romantic feelings towards cacti. I knew we were of different species. And I could see those pernicious thorns. We would never be like typical lovers. Hugging was out of the question, let alone copulation. But still, my love for them was very powerful and very real. 

My iPhone camera failed to do this jungle garden justice. I was ready to take an afternoon swim in this lovely pond despite knowing it was against the rules. What stopped me was neither a ranger nor my sense of decorum. It was those darn geese. They might be tiny but seemed aggressively territorial. 

Not sure where exactly I came upon this sculpture. Isn't it interesting that the supple archer is aiming at the dome ceiling? More interesting yet is the leaping hound who seems to be asking his angelic companion, "Seriously, girl, what are you doing? You don't have any arrows."

This little discrete area made me wish I had my Shakespearean-actor friend with me. It seemed like a perfect spot for him to recite a monologue from A Midsummer Night's Dream......or a nice place for anyone to enjoy a cup of earl grey and pretend they were at Downton Abbey with Lady Mary Crawley sauntering through the breezeway, and Mr. Barrow, the conniving under butler, lurking behind a rose bush. 

As a Zen Buddhist, I have a profound affinity for Japanese rock gardens. I wasn't really meditating here, though. My mind at the moment wasn't focused on my breathing or evanescent existence, but on those two strangers in the background, trying to communicate with them telepathically, "Stay right there. Don't come near me. Don't ruin my shot!"

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