Back when I used to live in Portland, before I got interested in Japanese, and before those antifa idiots decided they were going to ruin the place, I used to enjoy going to the Japanese Gardens there. They were really pretty, and peaceful. It’s the one thing I miss about Portland. I remember hearing, though I’m not sure if it really is the case, that it’s the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan itself.
I took a girlfriend there (back when I thought dating was a good idea) who was a little more spiritually aware than most, and she was almost in tears at all of the peaceful energy. I didn’t sense it in the same way she did, but that experience taught me that kami may well be a real thing.
I miss very little about Portland, but I miss those.
I spend way too much time on Facebook, and one of the ads I consistently see is one from ‘Light Up Hope”, which I think is another name for the Make-a-Wish Foundation (if it isn’t, it’s an organization with a similar purpose. You never know on Facebook). It talks about a 13 year old girl from Argentina named Mariel whose sole wish is to spend a day in a kimono in a Japanese Garden.
One thing I have learned about people in my life is that what they say they want is rarely what they’re truly asking for. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m absolutely sure little Mariel wants to spend a day in a kimono in a Japanese Garden. And I hope they can grant her that wish – it seems such a small thing, truly. But think about what a Japanese Garden might represent to a girl who is such a position health-wise that they are trying to grant her such a wish.
Japanese Gardens are a peaceful place. For as chaotic as Japanese culture can be, they deliberately carve out places, such as Shinto shrines and Japanese Gardens, that are designed for no purpose other than to be intentionally peaceful places where you can commune with nature.
She’s asking for a day of peace.
I also used to go to Japanese Gardens to find peace.
Peace comes from the inside. I never found it there.
But I do remember a day where I went to the Gardens. I think it was mid morning, and the way the sun shone through the trees onto a rock formation was so pretty. I could have stood there all day and just looked at the way the sun interacted with the rocks. Maybe that’s another thing Japanese Gardens are good for. Contemplation.
I like Texas. I really do. I think our government is sane (as compared to the west coast states), I think the people are generally friendly and mind their own business, I think we have plenty of opportunity and are in a much better place to ride out the coming storms than perhaps anywhere else in the world. And yet, the prospect of being able to visit an authentic Japanese Garden is almost enough to make me want to leave again.
We have them here in Texas. There’s one in Fort Worth, one in Austin, and I think a couple more. I’m sure they are maintained by passionate people who do their best with what they’ve got to work with. I don’t think it’ll ever be like Japan, or even in Portland.
I hope Mariel gets her wish. But more than that, I hope she gets her wish for what she actually wished for. A day in a kimono in a Japanese Garden is a wonderful thing. A life of peace is much better, I think.