Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!


A couple of weeks ago, I had to put my cat Smuch to sleep. He'd been by my side for almost 17 years, helping me - just with his sweet presence - through good times and bad. I'm happy that we got to spend such an incredible number of years together, but it's still been a difficult transition for me. I didn't realize how many personal habits I had developed around Smuch, and it's these little things that continue to haunt me. I continue to do them, because I've been doing them for so long, but there's no longer a need and the abrupt collision between the habit and the realization that it's no longer needed has been startling.

One thing that has always given me comfort is nature. I'm a big believer that nature heals. So this last weekend I decided to join Outdoor Afro for a nature walk in the city. Outdoor Afro is an amazing organization that serves as a safe space for POC to interact with the outdoors. I could go in depth on why African-Americans don't always feel welcome in "outdoorsy" circles (and I'm glad to see that this is gradually changing), but suffice it to say that this is a wonderful organization that's greatly needed, especially during these challenging times.

We gathered at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, then walked over to the Caldwell Lily Pond for a tour with the docents. The pond is prairie style, meaning that everything that grows there is native to our area, and it supports a wide range of wildlife, including foxes, chipmunks, coyotes, birds and snapping turtles (!). We saw - and tasted - all sorts of flowers. Wild geraniums in a beautiful soft purple. Wild onions - the smell of which took me back to childhood. Red bud trees, which flower in a gorgeous eruption of violet, and have tiny sweet, edible flowers. We even spotted a small patch of peonies, which were sitting in a hidden corner of the park, brought in by birds that had migrated through the area. Our docent showed us a diagram of native roots, and how much further they extend into the earth than non-native plants, making them more impervious to our difficult winters.

From there we walked back over to the Conservatory, which has been around since the late 1800s. We were given a tour of the three main rooms consisting of palms, ferns and orchids. It never fails to amaze me how perfectly smart nature is - how it knows exactly what to do and when to do it, without human involvement. Each plant has a life cycle, and the interdependence between plants, insects and animals keeps this cycle in check. I remember learning about plant science in junior high and being horrifically bored, but during the tour I was fascinated by the variety of plant life and how they each had grown and developed in the ways that best served them.

Our docents told us that we should return in a few weeks to see what new plants had flowered in the area, and that things would be much different. It reminded me that everything has its time, and that even we humans have seasons. Good ones, and unfortunately, bad and painful ones too. But everyone goes through them, and we should give ourselves the gift of time and patience. Eventually new ones bloom.