Thursday, October 02, 2008

A visit to a a garden . . .

Whenever we come to Portland, I'm somewhat dismayed by the traffic. City traffic. Lots of people. Bumper stickers that say "Keep Portland weird." Sidewalk cafes. Panhandlers. One of the most beautiful libraries I've ever visited. Lots of monumental sculptures, including a massive bronze, the spirit of Portland. Sides of buildings decorated with murals. The park splitting through cityscapes.

And then we come to the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, enter its rounded gate and find ourselves in a floating world of stone boats, a tea house, and winding paths. The garden takes up an entire city block, some 40,000 square feet. The trees are much taller than we remembered, yet the sense of absolute peace remains.

Chinese gardens are meant for reflection. Every few steps, the visitor stops to admire a new perspective. Plants are arranged to juxtapose shapes, colors, and textures, all to invite a slower pace. And so we stroll and stop in the tea house for cups of a piquant white tea, once a favorite of the imperial family. We admire the red, white and pink lotus blooming in the small lake and finally can name the mystery flower, Rose of Sharon, flowering next to the Zig Zag Bridge.

You can enjoy and download pictures of this wonderful classical Chinese garden by going to my Webshots.

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