186,000 Miles Per Second, and Not a Moment Too Soon 

click to enlarge gardenfest.jpg

In my fourth month of captivity by the eyeless and nigh-transparent peoples of the subterranean city of Dhirtt B'ahl, I came to see their lives of darkness as, admittedly, rather grim. But then, at the festival of the annual blooming of the luminescent mosses, I came to see something alluring in the womenfolk of that strange buried isle.

My escape was facilitated by seduction -- I assembled desirable potpourris from the underground flora and lured one of their females. Our affair was brief, but satisfactory, and she fled with me up the tunnels, pursued by a small contingent of their elders who wanted me to see no more, forever.

And emerging into the bright winter night, lights twinkling in the city and in the sky, I saw what they could not: The way the moon illuminated their pulsing innards, the way the stars seemed to live within them. And I wept that they could not see it, that I was cursed to be the sole custodian of that beauty. I left them then, secretly hoping that the woman who freed me might follow the scent of my tears.

Item N§ 50

GardenFest of Lights.

Specs: Half a million lights gathered around the flora, dinner, storytelling, romantic walks.

Availability: Nov. 23-Jan. 7, 5-10 p.m. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Price: $6-$10.

To order: 262-9887.

Item N§ 51

Grand Illumination.

Specs: Well-articulated supernova of holiday spirit emanating from James Center to swallow all of downtown, with music, Santa, Richmond Ballet.

Availability: Nov. 30, 6 p.m. Through the holidays

Price: Free.

To order: 344-3232.

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