Chihuly in Nature

She wanted to reach up and touch the bright yellow glass tendrils splayed toward the sky like suns rays. Cheerful color dotted the garden, brightening the gloomy day. Chihuly’s glass sculpture installations scattered throughout the Missouri Botanical Gardens were inspiring the way they integrated with the existing vegetation. This particular exhibit, arcing over the rose garden gate, was too tall for her to reach. But she very much wanted to reach out and touch it. The glass looked hollow and delicate. Knowing her luck, she’d probably ruin it. She snapped a photo and grabbed Lyle’s hand. They walked on to the sculpture pool. Large glass teardrops in jewel tones of red, green, and orange free floated in the water. She sat next to the pool and held out her hand, but none were close enough to her fingertips to touch.

Her skin pricked as raindrops suddenly fell. She pulled her hand back and watched the rain plop into the pool. Lyle came over and put his jacket over her. The sky began to darken quickly. The atmosphere turned an eerie yellow. She knew what that meant. She got up, hugging Lyle close, searching the sky for a telltale cloud. It was still raining, which she considered a good sign, but that could change fast.

Then they heard it. The siren began blaring throughout the city. She and Lyle, seeing a dark cloud just over the Climatron, broke into a run toward the main building. When they reached it, the rain had stopped. As they slipped through the doors along with other visitors, a tornado ripped through the gardens, throwing up the earth and making daggers out of Chihuly’s glass tendrils.

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