I spend a lot of my time now staring at a computer screen (actually 2 now), and I'm often doing a lot of tasks at once - as I wait for program or piece of code to run I'll start another one and another one and so on. This will often make me really frazzled and antsy. So I often go outside for just a few minutes to catch my breath. One of the best things about the location of my building on campus is its proximity to the Horticulture department's trial gardens. This is where they try out new varieties of flowers and garden food plants, and the place is always buzzing with life. In addition to the gorgeous array of flowers (still in bloom, in December!), bees and wasps, beetles and moths fill the air as they zip about from flower to flower. Today I saw a beautiful hawk moth - just like a miniature hummingbird it hovered in front of flowers as its iridescent purple and pink abdomen shimmered in the sunlight. Whenever I arrive in the gardens, I can feel my brain relax...an almost tingling sensation fills the back of my skull as I shift my eyes from things that are close to me to things that are far away. Surely the colors in the garden are replicated on my shiny computer screen, but when I look at the brilliant flowers I feel as if my eyes are drinking in the pigments with a great thirst. I don't get the same sensations when I just go for a hike on the weekend...there's something about the rapid switch from computer brain to outside brain. Anyway, I'm grateful for the gardens, they are indeed a sight for sore eyes.