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Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

On the way to the airport, a flowering artichoke at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna.

Our theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge this week is:  On the Way.
Our instructions:  In-between moments can be just as memorable as grand finales.  This week, share a photo you took on the way to something else.

Mom!  This is worse than a winery!

If you ever want to torture your teenagers, take them to a botanical garden in mid-July when it’s 113 degrees outside.  Last summer, we had some time to kill before heading to the airport to pick up my husband, so I made a pit-stop at the gardens to get in a little practice with my camera.  This was a very unpopular activity with the teenagers.  Lots of eye-rolling and harrumphing.

Sidebar:  If you’re thinking about visiting your Nation’s Capital, July is not the time.  It’s hot and oppressively humid here in July.  Rain forest humid.  You might melt.  Seriously.

Just before I melted, I found this spectacular, flowering artichoke plant.  And a port-key to memory . . .

Artichokes always remind me of the years we lived in Monterey, California.  We rented a house near the beach, and very near Castroville (the Artichoke Center of the World).  One of our regular running routes took us past miles of artichoke fields.  (My husband’s running route was considerably longer than mine — he was training for the Big Sur Marathon, I was training to make it around the block.)

The artichoke we eat is actually a bud on its way to becoming this beautiful thistle flower.  My husband used to joke that he was going running with a machete (it was a stealth machete), so he could bring dinner home for us.  Once the artichoke flowers, it’s no longer edible — it turns fibrous and, apparently, it’s impossible to eat.  The farmers harvested (by hand, btw) the artichokes before they flowered, but they always left a few randoms in the fields.  I told myself they did this just for me — so I’d have something pretty to distract me from the searing pain in my lungs as I ran by.

And now . . . I want artichokes for dinner!


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