Recently I was in Portland, Oregon for a conference and had the opportunity to visit the Portland Japanese Garden situated in the hills of Washington Park just west of downtown. It seemed a perfect day to visit; cool temperatures in the mid-50s with bright, warm autumn sun.
The garden had been transitioning from summer to fall as evidenced by the brilliant display of color on the maples. Some had already lost their full complement of leaves, others were partially there, and still others not yet ready to give into nature’s calendar. Were I there a week later, it would have been an entirely different experience.
And speaking of experience, as I wound through the beautiful gardens, I found it irresistible to not take multiple photos. There was so much to it all in the multiple layers to expertly crafted gardens. Give yourself a moment of stillness and suddenly there will be something you hadn’t noticed before.
Author Toni Morrison once said,
At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.
Clearly, I am not there yet, but perhaps someday. Sitting at the waterfall, I did put down the camera for about 10 minutes and watched the leaves falling to the water’s surface, the koi slowly swimming beneath, and listened to the water submitting to gravity, splashing against the rocks.
I could not help but think of Mary Oliver’s quote from Long Life: Essays and Other Writings, over and over again as I walked through the garden.
What does it mean…that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it?
It is a wonderful question, one worthy of consideration.
I say it was a perfect day for visiting the Japanese garden, but aren’t there so many perfect days? This one was a sunny, autumn day. I would love to return and see it set in fog, or in the dead of winter, or the energy of spring. Every moment a new experience.