Friday, March 27, 2009

Portland's Japanese Garden

I'm needing a flashback to something fun and nice today. It's been a hard week. (Heck, it's been a hard winter, truth be told.) Husband's sick. I'm sick. Again. I'm tired of being sick. Whine, gripe, whimper. I did get some good work done on the church remodel project this week, which is a blessing. One of the advantages of being sick a lot (yes, we are striving to be positive), is that you learn how to ignore pain and fatigue and function anyway. I decided that I would feel better mentally if I just went ahead and got something useful done, and I was right. If you're going to feel lousy physically no matter what you do, you might as well be productive if you can, right? Now, I still feel lousy, but I feel lousy with one more coat of mud on the walls. I can live with that.

Anyway, right now I'm waiting to take some friends to the airport before heading over for one more round of productive enterprise. (Corrective update--never made it to the church. By the time I got back from the airport my temperature was up three degrees. I'm not working on anything for awhile.) I thought now would be a good time to dip into some cheerful memories, and take care of some photographic housekeeping at the same time. It's high time I sorted and posted some of my favorite pics from the Portland Japanese Garden, an authentic Japanese garden near Washington Park and the Oregon Zoo. I took a stroll through this beautiful pleasure-ground (actually five gardens in one) last June with my dear friend Su. Yes, I have been holding on to these pictures for almost a year without actually doing anything with them! Kinda pathetic, eh? Oh well, I've picked out the ones I like now, and am ready to share them with the world. (Heh. Maybe I should narrow that "the world" thing down to a very small subset of the world that will happen to randomly wander by when they Google "feline misspellings," or something equally random.) No matter. Here goes. I don't have a lot to say about many of these, so I'll mostly let the images speak for themselves, okay?

I found this rather interesting. In the midst of all the natural beauty--stone, wood, water, trees, moss and flowers--there is something that looks very much like Plexiglas. Hmmm, how did that get in here? Pretty, though.

There was some official showing going on in the art gallery, to which Su and I lacked an invite, so I had to content myself with peering in from the outside and trying to use the reflections and glass I shot this photo through as an asset as best I could. I kind of like how it turned out, and really think the vase is beautiful and creative. It's not something I would use to decorate my own rather "traditional" American house, but I love to see it in its native habitat.

Here is Su, sketchpad in hand. While I snapped photos, she was happily engaged in drawing whatever took her fancy. Her method took little longer, but her pencil never ran low, whereas my camera battery barely gasped its way through the afternoon. I'd say we both enjoyed our chosen form of artistic expression for the day, which is what counts, right?

How is it the Japanese manage to make something artistic out of plain old ordinary grey boulders, without even adding flowers to brighten up the scene? I don't know--I sure couldn't pull it off--but somehow it works in this setting.

I loved getting the picture of this bee. Isn't this pretty? You can see the cells in the lovely little pollinator's wings! (You can really see the detail if you click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Su sketched this scene for quite a while. (The drawing was beautiful--wish I had a copy.) She drew quite a crowd at one point when a tour group wandered by. One lady was actually rather annoying about it, hovering over Su's shoulder and making comments about what she saw. I was impressed that Su managed to take it in stride and still put out a charming sketch, despite the distraction.

While Su was busily putting pencil to paper, I waited for this bridge to clear so I could snap this photo. It was a very limited opportunity moment. The gardens were busy that day (of course they were busy--have you noticed all that beautiful sunshine?), and this is the only chance I got in about 15 minutes of waiting for the sketch artist to complete her latest vision. Don't know that the picture was worth all that hovering, but now that I've snapped it, by golly, I'm going to post it!!

What would Japanese gardens be without koi? Inconceivable.

Well, there you have it, only ten months after the fact... Don't think of these pictures as being late and out of their proper time. Think of them as getting us in the mood for summer! It certainly brightened my mood to post them. Hope you enjoyed them too.