a pair of weeks ago, when my dad and christy were here with us, we drove up to the cloisters one sunny afternoon and i stood once again in jaw-dropped awe at the serene beauty of this hilltop bouquet of art, architecture, and gardens of medieval europe. bundled in our woolies, we wandered in and out of chapels and halls and light-filled spaces, listened in on a talk describing beekeeping practices in the middle ages, and meandered gardens brimming with rare species of flowers and herbs and trees useful to medicine, housekeeping, and craft making in medieval monastic life. as always, my breath hooked in my chest at sight of the flemish hunt of the unicorn tapestries and windows shining with bright stained glass. as always, when the day was done, we headed southward in disbelief that something so peacefully picturesque could possibly exist on this hustling-bustling island. it feels so utterly far away in space and time.