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.”

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Chinese Garden

Right now, the Chinese Garden is asking a donation of non-perishable food for the local food bank, in lieu of admission.  So Maggie came by and swept me away.

We walked in just as a tour was starting, so we trailed along behind the docent who was fascinating.  Every docent has his or her own particular focus on the garden.  This one kept pointing out the yin and yang: underfoot were designs set with smooth stones and rough stones, straight lines and curves, light stones and dark stones.  The garden juxtaposes live plants with smooth walls; trees with stones, still water with a waterfall; low grasses and tall bamboos; natural with manmade.

One of the joys of the garden is the fact that, although it is in the middle of downtown, it is a serene, enclosed place of peace.  You can see office buildings looming around above the walls.  You can hear the police sirens, and the the rumble of busses, but centered peace just oozes from the very walls and brings your focus to a zen-like tranquility.
In spite of the wintery weather, there were plants in bloom.  Wintersweet and edgeworthia perfumed the air as did winter jasmine.  And the early-blooming camellias  brought in luscious touches of color and velvety texture.     

The docent was fascinating, but after a while, it got too cold to just stand around listening, so we ditched the tour and went to the tea house for a warm-up.  Maggie had Jasmine pearls, and I had strong fire tea. (Yum.  Rich, dark,oolong with almost a nutty flavor.) and we shared a moon cake.  There was a gentleman playing a stringed instrument with a bow downstairs.  It was lovely.  Either I am developing an ear for Chinese music, or it was music particularly suited to Westerners, because I enjoyed every note and interval.  We made our way upstairs and managed to score a seat by a south window.  The clouds thinned as we sat there, sipping, nibbling, enjoying the peace, and some weak January sunshine filtered through to kiss our cheeks.    One of those transcendent still spots in life when the wonder of reality parts the veils and kicks your butt with awareness.  My mind is too tiny to hold it all, or even a part of it all, for long, but I do appreciate it when it hits.


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