GLOW at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden
At last weekend’s preview party for the Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s GLOW festival, everyone seemed to comment on the magical effect of laser lights that were projected at strategic points in the landscape. The mention of laser lights conjured up not very hopeful images of battling extraterrestrial ninjas, but all such trepidation was swept aside at the first glimpse of these subtle installations. Instead, these were tiny points of green light projected from ground-level units so unobtrusive as to be practically undiscoverable. The illumination settled on the barren branches of trees and shrubs like shimmering scrims. When a breeze wafted through, the effect — especially if glimpsed from a distance — made one wonder if the Aurora Borealis had been transposed to our southern latitude.
That’s not all that set the installation apart from what visitors had experienced in previous years. In October, the garden opened a new twoacre section called Ojos y Manos (Eyes and Hands), designed to showcase native plants that were traditionally put to use by the inhabitants of this region for food, medicine, and weaving. The timing, just as the garden is going to sleep, is a bit awkward, but we look forward to spring and summer to see the new plantings flourish. But even during this season, visitors to GLOW can get the general lay of the land, including walking around a circular amphitheater that will be used for performances in warmer weather. For current purposes, the “stage” area is occupied by a large radiant tent, inside which visitors can gather around a Christmas tree. One suspects this is where Santa will be greeting the younger visitors, although apparently he was too busy building last-minute toys in his northerly workshop to be able to drop in at the preview gala.
It’s likely to be cold, so dress suitably. The garden helps out by offering warm beverages, and several bonfires and fireplaces serve as way stations for thawing out. Once the nightly event opens to the public on Friday, Dec. 16, the place will be filled with music as well as light. A different act performs every evening; you can coordinate your visit with your musical taste by consulting the complete roster at www.santafebotanicalgarden. org/events/glow. While you have your browser open, you can also reserve advance tickets at a slight discount from the general admission price of $9 (less for Santa Fe Botanical Garden members and seniors; budding gardeners age twelve and under are free). You can use your pre-purchased tickets on any evening. GLOW is open nightly from 5 through 8 p.m., with the last entry at 7:30, Dec. 16 through Jan. 1 (closed on Dec. 24 and 25). The garden is located at 715 Camino Lejo.