My Adventure To Leu Gardens

Leu Gardens is a beautiful botanic garden – there is no doubt about that! But due to a series of unfortunate events, including one by Mother Nature, I’m not so sure if my experience visiting was an ‘adventure’ or the makings of a total meltdown.

Setting the Stage

It all started when we were in Orlando, Florida for work in June, and I was working with a graphic artist from the area. While waiting for clients to review their presentations, we had a chance to chat about the rain in Orlando, which was falling hard and fast at that time. He said that people who are visiting Orlando don’t realize that the rain comes as fast as it goes, and his words stuck with me.

The rain comes as fast as it goes.

As we were finishing up the meeting, I could see there was a window of time for me to go to a new botanical garden, Leu Gardens. I said my goodbye’s to the client, changed into my photography clothes, grabbed my camera backpack and went on my way. In the distance I could see dark clouds, but I didn’t fear them, because ‘the rain comes as fast as it goes’.

My Time at Leu Gardens

I arrived at what seemed to be a southern plantation with a beautiful, bright white house, especially against the dark looming clouds. There were rocking chairs on the porch and a lovely view of a pond. The gardens were very tropical and lush, and I wandered around to see what wondrous blooms there were to shoot. I also looked up to the sky every once in awhile and the clouds were looking pretty ominous.

My Adventure to Leu Gardens

After a bit, I found my flower to shoot (which you can see this coming Wednesday). I set up my tripod and camera with the correct settings and started to shoot. Shortly into my shoot it started to rain. At first it was a slow, soft rainfall, but then it turned into a deluge with thunder and lightning to boot. I covered my camera the best I could and stood there as the rain fell and fell. The lighting was definitely much closer than I was comfortable with, but I kept remembering what the graphic artist had said: ‘the rain comes as fast as it goes’. Well as it turns out, this was not a “typical” rainfall in Orlando, as it continued and soon mini rivers were running all through the gardens.

After finally coming to my senses that the rain was here to stay, along with the thunder and lighting, I knew it was time to find some sort of shelter. I was soaked from head to toe and I was pretty far from the plantation house entrance, but I remembered passing a restroom somewhere along my walk. I gathered my soaking wet camera bag, hoped I hadn’t ruined any of my equipment, and started to run to find coverage. Once under the roofline of the restroom I used some paper towels to sop up a little of the water and I called my husband. Unbeknownst to me, my iPhone was wet, along with my extra battery case, so the phone connection was poor. We finally connected, and I let him know what was happening and that I had to wait out the “fast” moving storm and would and then drive back to the hotel.

The Aftermath

When I arrived at the hotel, my husband met me at the entrance with towels in hand. I was freezing at that point and went straight to our room to shower and warm up. It doesn’t end there, though. In my rush, I left the camera bag on the bed, which soaked it through almost to the mattress. My iPhone was dead, and I knew to keep it turned off for at least 48 hours to let it dry out in hopes it would work again. And as it happened, it was our anniversary that day and we were going out to dinner that night. After laying everything out to dry for our flight to Tucson the next day, we got ready and went to celebrate our anniversary. That night when we came back I was exhausted and didn’t even open my computer. We had talked about our flight the next day and made a plan for packing and leaving in the morning.

The next morning we were all set to go and in the rental car. As we were driving to the airport, I decided to check my husband’s iPhone to see what terminal we were heading to. While looking at the American Airlines app, I was in disbelief, as it was telling me that we had less than 30 minutes to board our flight. We were still ten minutes from the airport, had to to drop off the rental car, get our luggage checked, check in for our flight, get through security and somehow board the plane before they locked the doors. It wasn’t going to happen, and it was meltdown time for me. I push and push myself all the time, but with everything that had happened, we never double checked our flight time. If I thought there was a deluge of rain the previous day, my tears equalled that rain.

We missed our flight!

After waiting for open seats to come available, we finally made it to Tucson, where the rain really does come and go, and I’m happy to say there was no rain in the forecast.

The Morals of the Story:

  • Rain doesn’t always come and go in Orlando, Florida. If it doesn’t go quickly, find coverage when there is thunder and lightning.
  • Keep your phone dry and if it gets wet, take off the extra cover/battery as it may hold water in.
  • Don’t get so overwhelmed that you forget to check your calendar to confirm your flight information.
  • Don’t let life get so out of control. It’s important to manage your life and time and not let it manage you.

This story ends the following November, as I was able to finish my shoot of the flower at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Leu Gardens is a beautiful botanic garden, and I very much look forward to visiting it again when rain is not imminent.

Share with me below: Are you letting life manage you or are you managing it the best you can?

Photographed @ Leu Gardens.

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