Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is situated on Cannon Drive, very near to N Orchard Street where am staying. My friend found it on the net and instructed me to visit it as soon as I reach Chicago. So that’s what I did. One of my colleagues accompanied me and we walked it up to the museum. The entry is $9 and I would say it was worth every cent. On Level 1 we walk through miniature interactive models that address environmental issues such as how channelling water from a river can help in different ways. There were sections that housed stuffed birds, animals and insects of North America including endangered species and then on Level 2 you come to the best part.

I have always loved butterflies and running after them with a camera to capture their beauty is a painful but persistent pastime of mine. Here I didn’t have to do that. There is a special glass house where thousands of butterflies flit about, unmindful of human presence. If you stay long enough, there are some really tame ones that will land on you even. There was an air of surreal beauty in that space, which was filled with the soft calls of a few birds and the silent flitting of these small winged creatures. Color was splashed all over the place.

I spent some time there, sitting on the bench, soaking in a lukewarm sun and the loveliness of it all. When life seems bleak, its beauty like this that lifts you up. It was simply magic and if there is a chance to experience such magic again, I definitely will.

And just as I began my day with magic, it ended on a quirky but rarely sweet experience. My colleague had told me about this Dunkin’ Donuts near our townhouse, which was run by an Indian. When he saw that she was Indian, he gave her two donuts for the price of one and it has been like that since. I wanted to see this phenomenon for myself and being a lover of doughnuts either way, I needed no coaxing to walk up there. I entered and there was this guy named Raj behind the counter. We chatted him up and discovered he was from Gujarat and that he has been here since he was six years old. But I was more eager to see how many doughnuts we would get for $1. Sure enough, he gave me two and my colleague two. Quirky? I guess. Sweet? Definitely. In this world, which runs on money, such gestures are rare and to be remembered. Well, not to mention the lovely doughnuts, I will be meeting Raj more often.

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