10 October, 2008

Friday Favorite Garden

One of the most exciting things about moving to Seattle was the Japanese Garden at the Washington Arboretum.

I used to have a fascination for English gardens. There was a great one surrounding a house in Prescott that I used to drive by on my way home. There's just something about those that make you want to put on your best English summer suit and sit at a table sipping tea and nibbling scones: staid, and relaxing, and full of flowers. I loved that garden. I wanted one.

This was before I fell hard for Japan. When I saw my first picture of a Japanese garden, all thoughts of English gardens got defenestrated.

Problem is, it's a lot easier to find an English garden than a Japanese one in Arizona.

Japanese gardens suit every one of my personality quirks. They have a delightfully deceptive simplicity. They say a lot with very little. They contain a lot of hidden places, sidetrack you with mysteries, and invite you to step off the beaten path and just enjoy the moment you're in. They accomplish with rocks and plants what a great writer accomplishes with well-placed words and themes.

If you get a chance, you might want to wander among the pine trees pruned to evoke clouds, or take a side-trip down a trail that symbolizes a mountainside.

Linger under a wisteria-draped bower and gaze out over the mirror-smooth pond, or sit on the old wooden bridge watching carp laze about beneath you.

At the end of your journey, put off your shoes and settle in for a tea ceremony. It's more than just a cuppa, you know: this is art.

This is the place I feel the most restored. What's yours?

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