Monday, March 26, 2012

Thin Places - A Trip to Portland's Japanese Garden

In today's Oregonian Travel section is an article about "Thin Places"...places where the separation between the wordly and the spiritual is thinner than we normally feel, and where we can experience a closer contact with the Eternal.  Most of us have had them, whether in a church, a special place in the wilderness, or even in the midst of a city.  It is often a time when we feel slightly disoriented and our normal routine seems off.  We may feel a disconnection from the world around us and a nudge from the spiritual.  It is in these moments we can be transformed...or not. 

These occurrences are usually serendipitous, and happen when we least expect them. Other times we go into a space or place without expectations, and feel a strange peace. Such was one today, as I visited Portland's Japanese Gardens, near Washington Park. 
Water...or the sound of water, can be very soothing.  Whether it's the reflective pool or the cascading falls, one can sit next to water and feel the calm. 

The design of a wall, with the repetitive pattern provided by the tiles on top bring a visual calm when broken by the softness of a bamboo branch.

The Sand and Stone Garden, with it's placed stones and raked sand and rocks give a quiet feel through the beauty of a "blank space", offering a place for contemplation.


 Beauty is in even the most sublime of things, such as a moss-draped tree that hides a hole.

Patterns, whether random or repetitive leads the eye...and the mind, on a contemplative journey.

The quiet strains of a bamboo flute adds to the meditative air of the gardens.  One can almost breath in the presence of the spiritual when the soft traditional music blends with the surrounding lush plantings.

The first blossoms ...the gift of renewal each Spring when what has been dormant through the cold winter awakens with new life.  The sap can practically be seen running through the branches, feeding the buds.

For more on the article about thin places, see the link:
http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/travel/thin-places-where-we-are-jolted-out-of-old-ways-of-seeing-the-world.html?pagewanted=all

For more on the Japanese Garden, see: http://japanesegarden.com/

1 comment:

sha said...

Very nice images...thank you for posting! I've been once, and it is truly a place, where despite the size of the crowd, the surroundings drown out the noise and allow you to "just be."