I don’t want to get ahead of myself, though. Before we visited the arboretum — which was in the evening — Namine had a bowling birthday party to attend. It was actually held at the very same bowling alley where she had a birthday party of her own, and then later participated in a league.
Even though it’s been a couple years since Namine has bowled regularly, the lessons clearly have not left her. While she did require a ramp to get up to the lane, she did not need the ramp to help her bowl. She set the ball in her lap — aided by her chair’s leg extension (officially termed “amputee pad”) — and practically shot-put it down the lane.
As I mentioned, it had been a couple years since Namine had bowled at this alley. In that time, she’s gotten a new wheelchair which is larger than the last. When she was in the league, she had a tough time navigating between the chairs. I assumed it would be the same now — but I was wrong.
Namine’s weaving her chair in between the chairs to get to the ramp did take some getting used to, but it didn’t take her long to adjust. She has some tight corners to deal with in our house — not without the occasional bumping, to be sure — so she’s gotten quite adept at wheeling backwards and making tight turns.
After her friend’s birthday party, we headed out to dinner with family. It was starting to get dark when we headed to Olbrich Botanical Gardens for GLEAM: an outdoor tour through gardens and lights.
Despite the darkness, the paved and brick walkways were fairly well lit. The parts of the walkway that were in darkness were deliberate, like the butterflies that left stained-glass patterns on the ground.
Along the path, we came across giant lights with wings. I called them owls because they reminded me of Ori and the Blind Forest. Nothing swooped out at us, thankfully.
The walkways were, for the most part, accessible to Namine’s wheelchair. There were a couple spots where the ground was a little more uneven, but that’s what we’re here for.
It wasn’t all brick and pavement, however; there was a bridge leading across the water to a giant, flashing cube. That cube, as it turned out, was called the Tesseract. While there were steps leading up to it, an employee led us around the back to a ramp.
The doorways leading inside the Tesseract were wide enough to accommodate Namine’s wheelchair. Upon entering, we were bombarded by techno music and flashing lights.
As we continued along the path, we saw plants decorated with fiberoptic lights. To me, it was akin to a mix of TRON’s neon lights and Avatar’s bioluminescent flora.