Tuesday, April 6, 2010

6:00 p.m.

Walking up to the Jewel Box reminds me of champagne fountains and what Nick Carraway might have come across on Jay Gatsby's estate. The reflection of 4,000 glass panes is imbued with bright blue sky, clouds and foliage from within. From the outside, the Jewel Box conjures an image of a sparkling, emerald-cut diamond.

Although it is a greenhouse, the temperature inside is not unpleasant or particularly muggy. A hint of humidity hangs delicately, like the leafy branches of the tropical plants above. It is just barely difficult to breathe, and the gentle reminder of a future August is refreshing after the bitterly cold winter. I smell the sheerness of lilies and a freshness like plaid shirts washed in rose water and sun-dried. Plants in large, round ceramic pots line a walkway up to what could be a gardener's alter. Vines and flowers creep upwards, climbing towards the glass roof that seems to blend into a Coppice of leafy Art Deco. Moments of splashing sun between shadows fill one's entire body with an otherworldly warmth, one that can only be found in the concentrated heat of a greenhouse. The glinting brightness of the panes encourages a serene meditation of zoned-out bliss. I find it difficult to leave.

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