Greetings from Chicago, Illinois, where your blogger for Nichi Bei Natural is braving a chilly week with the help of warm friends and family. Headed out to the Chicago Botanic Garden today for a snowy walk around the grounds, and strolled through the popular Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden.

Also known as the Sansho-En (it stretches across three islands), this garden features a vast array of creatively-pruned evergreens, with the occasional stone lantern standing here and there among the shrubbery. Quiet, beautiful, and covered in a few inches of pristine white powder, this landscape offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life — especially at this time of year. I hope that wherever you are right now, you can take a moment to enjoy a little peace such as this. In our fast-paced world, which seems only to be accelerating, it’s important to slow down once in a while.

In keeping with that spirit, I think I’d better get off this computer — but not before I leave you with this message from another Chicago Botanic Garden visitor, whose license plate I spotted in the parking lot:

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