I visited the Japanese Friendship garden in Balboa Park. A decision born from impulse. Home was only a few bus stops away. But I felt this need to marvel at something.
The afternoon sun warms the dirt path. Although tempted, I keep my shoes on. How to describe a place so instantly tranquil? As if a very clear, but invisible, line is drawn at the entrance. One gentle step from the outside and ordinary into a place of magic. A world of soft pinks and deep greens.
A sensory treasure trove.
Simultaneously, as I slowly wander, I feel quite lonely and very alive. Small in the existence of natural beauty; but, connected by the soft buzz of the other visitors. I kick up a bit of dirt.
The waterfalls appear at the bottom of the descending pathway. In a twisting of the senses, the water sounds like cold and smells like clear. I imagine if one dared to dip a toe in, it would be just crisp enough to make you say ‘oh!’
Little girls in spring-colored dresses run barefoot over the small bridges. Laughing at nothing. A beautiful and sometimes forgotten pastime. A place for child-like wonder.
A place to fall in love.
Couples hold hands as they take turns leading each other under the archway of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. The wind pulls at the petals. Some of them detach. Suspended in a sort of dance overhead. Some ritual movement as they a stay a while between the old and the new.
They fall, soundlessly, to the dirt.
I recommend the song “We Are All in the Dance/ La Meme Histoire” by Feist. Give it a play in both English & French. It crossed my mind today as I walked through the gardens.