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Walk Through Human + Nature w/Daniel Popper

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Daniel Popper Morton Arboretum
Tisha Starr up Close with Daniel Popper's Human + Nature

I’m cutting straight to the point on this review. The Morton Arboretum, in Lisle, IL., is not only a must see, it’s a must see RIGHT NOW! “Right now,” because artist Daniel Popper's Human Nature exhibit is on display. It’s a must see because of the park's peace, serenity and beauty.

This meditation oasis is definitely enjoyable as a SOLO experience.

Yeah I know, summer’s over and it’s cold. Blah, Blah, Blah… I get it. As a Chicago native, I speak first-hand on the brutalities of its winters. However, just keep reading and you will find a quick tip to conquer the park in frigid temps.

Chicago gets so much bad press about violence and danger that outsiders rarely get to see its beauty. Lisle is a suburb that sits southwest of the city and is connected by a major highway, I88. When you exit I88 at Rte. 53 a world of 1700 acres of natural beauty awaits. With 222,000 plant specimens, 16 miles of hiking trails & 9 miles of driving road you can easily make a day at the Arboretum when weather permits.


Did you know 120 minutes per week in “nature has robust effects on people’s health — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mathew White, found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t.” So if that’s not a reason to enjoy a bit of nature, maybe UMI, Hallow, Sentient, Basilica or Hartwood will change your mind.

Meet Umi . . .

Artist Daniel Popper describes her as “The archetypal mother earth, who welcomes visitors into her womb, and a reminder of our connection to nature, and our responsibility to create, nurture and care for our environment.”

The Earth and I melted together as I stood inside her womb admiring the intrinsic 18-foot glass fiber and reinforced concrete sculpture. The way the artist anchored the mother's womb to the Earth signified our connection to nature from the cradle to the grave. The barren trees scattered in the backdrop stand firm waiting to be born again come spring — as if through UMI’s womb. IMO, it's an impeccable piece of art.

TIP ONE - Make sure to get a map from the check-in booth to know exactly where the sculptures are located inside the park. I didn’t and paid for it later. I didn’t get to see two of them (Heartwood and Basilica).

Keep reading to find out why.

Take a look at Umi photographed from inside her womb.
Umi's beauty from inside her womb

The park opens from 7AM to Sunset but due to COVID you are given an arrival time. I mistakenly chose 2pm. For me, a lover of nature, that just wasn’t enough time to make my way around the park before they began to close off sections. Currently, the park has a light show called Illuminations. The main park closes at 3:30PM to prepare. Technically, I simply ran out of time but luckily for me I purchased entry tickets for both the park and the illumination show. I was so happy to find out Hallow was included in the price of the Illumination admission. So, I got to see three of the five sculptures. I didn’t feel so bad after that.

Also, right now, the Daniel Popper price of admission is as follows: $16.00 per adult, $11.00 for children and $14.00 for seniors. But if you want to save money, go on a Wednesday for discounted admission.

TIP TWO — If walking isn’t your thing, you can drive the roads. There are smaller parking lots sprinkled throughout the park. In fact, this is my best tip for beating the cold. Pay attention to your map for landmarks and location.
By driving/parking/walking driving/parking/walking - You can take advantage of the car heat in between sculptures.


Daniel Popper | Hallow Sculpture
Hallow opens her soul to the world!

Bearing her soul to nature surrounding her, this stunning work of art tingled my spirit. One thing to point out, if you plan to enter Hallow’s chest cavity please do so prior to the Illumination show. She is gated off during Illumination so you cannot get an up-close encounter. It was remarkable to see her towering over us illuminated by lights beneath the dark sky. Her thick lips and roped hair captivated me.

Here’s a couple more pics you can draw your own feelings about Hallow’s significance.

Meet Sentient . . .

Daniel Popper | Sentient Sculpture
Sentient telling you to SILENCE the noise.

There’s so much fast-moving information in today’s digital world. Do this, no that - go here, no there, eat this, no that . . . The list goes on and on. Sentient was a reminder for me to continue taking time ALONE and quiet the noise. The voices in your own head can overwhelm. No doubt the excess of chaos around us can only make matters worse.

Daniel Popper debunks the “hear no evil speak no evil” saying in this piece. Because in the world which we all live in now - you must make a deliberate choice to stop the flow of information and calm your head. If not, sensory overload is sure to happen, and stress could soon follow.

Since I didn’t get to see the other two sculptures, I won’t infringe upon someone’s else photos so you can see them here on Daniel Popper’s website OR BETTER YET,

Start your SOLO journey today and visit the Morton Arboretum to see the art for yourself. Research said 120 minutes a week can do you justice. Choose today that you will snatch those weekly minutes for yourself. Let’s pay ourselves first by removing the guilt for wanting a piece of alone time. Improving our health is NOTHING to feel guilty over.

This blog is about SOLO self-healing where we use travel, the great outdoors and products as a means to get there! We’re building towering self-esteems over here. We’re taking our power back over here! And we're reviewing all travel locations and products we use along the journey. Please join us!