Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The joys of retirement

LG and I can now get together every other week or so for an adventure.  Today, we went to the Chinese Garden.  I could move in there.  It's sooo beautiful! It's in Chinatown which is a rather dicey part of the city.  Lots of punks, drunks and junkies, hookers, pushers and street people. You walk through an area with used needles in the gutters, and enter this Eden of peace and beauty.  It was transcendent!

In the very foreground here, you can see the silhouette of a gardner trimming some foliage. She worked steadily for about fourty minutes, tracing every twig back to it's stem and then then stem back to the branch, and clipping only after she was quite sure that every leaf that was left was precisely the perfect leaf to be there.  It was very zen.

There was Tai Chi class going on when we arrived. Lots of geriatric practitioners.  There are mah jong tournaments held once a week, calligraphy classes, embroidery demonstrations . . . it's an active part of the Chinese community.

We settled in the tea house for moon cakes and tea.  I had Golden Monkey tea.  It tasted even better than it looks.

And then it was time for a tour of the garden. The docent we followed was a font of information. The trick of a garden like this is to give a sense of infinite space in quite a small area.  Curved paths lead you to new views.  The tree you are admiring conceals a pond just a few steps on which is placed to reflect both the tree, and the building wall on which the tree casts elegant shadows.  Sit in the building and look through the window on the left which frames a fascinating water-carved boulder like a whole mountain range in miniature, or look through the window on the right and contemplate the twisted branches of a venerable old pine tree.  You find yourself savoring every detail, and just when you think you've seen it all, you notice the shadows, or the reflections, or the way a breeze makes the leaves ripple on the little bush in the corner.  It's a place where you take your time.


This is a scholar's garden, and symbology is everywhere.  The beautiful carp, if it swims hard enough and fast enough and manages to leap up the falls of the river will be transformed into a dragon fish, just as a man who works diligently and energetically will be transformed from an ignorant lout into a venerable scholar. Go, carp. Go!  Every flower, number, roof tile and paving stone is freighted with meaning.  And since Chinese is a language much given to puns and word plays, there are layers of comprehension like jokes waiting to be discovered.



The garden is designed to be enjoyed at all times and in all seasons.  I hope to return often.  Winter rain, spring blossoms, autumn leaves, this place is a treasure trove!

After our garden time,we walked a couple blocks and had DimSum for lunch.  I just love
this sort of meal, where you get a bit of this and a taste of that and a few of those little crispy fried balls of wonderful flavor, and before you know it, you're groaning in pain, and the table is heaped high with empty little plates.  I'm still uncomfortable, and I wouldn't have foregone a thing.  It was a glorious day!

7 Comments:

  • At 4:14 PM , Blogger Acorn to Oak said...

    Sounds like a magical place and a wonderful day! What a treasure to have nearby.

     
  • At 8:37 PM , Blogger Willow said...

    I love that Chinese Garden. Remember when it was being built?

     
  • At 1:09 AM , OpenID roseredshoes said...

    It looks and sounds like the perfect day indeed!

    I am embarrassed to admit I have never been to our Chinese Garden. I really must rectify that.

     
  • At 5:08 AM , Blogger Saren Johnson said...

    Lovely garden. I always mean to stop there, when we come visit but haven't.

     
  • At 9:35 AM , Blogger Timothy Young said...

    I'm ashamed to say I've never been to the Chinese garden. Now I have to go see it.

     
  • At 4:52 AM , Blogger Donna Lee said...

    What a beautiful garden (and a delicious lunch. I love dim sum). And how sunny and gorgeous it looks.

     
  • At 10:25 PM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    Oh, let's hear it for a good day in a lovely place with a friend:-)

     

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