Paths: Japanese Garden, Portland

Today I went to the Portland Japanese Garden, ostensibly to see the ikebana show that is an annual adjunct of the Rose Festival (demonstrating how to incorporate roses into this traditional flower arranging art).

The arrangements were interesting but couldn’t hold a candle to the garden itself, which was arrayed in every shade of green imaginable, a perfectly framed view in every direction no matter where you stood. Here’s one shot to give you a sense of the lush beauty:

What really entranced me, however, were the paths… each one different, each one meandering off to another place, each one so irregular that you have to mind your step.

The paths don’t just take you from here to there; they are metaphoric – designed to make you think about your own life’s journey.  Life’s twists and turns, dead ends, new vistas.

You are supposed to sloooww down. Look up. Look down.

Look around you.

Some of the paths have random rocks inserted in them, others have end tiles from roof caps, still others ask you to stop and simply appreciate the design at your feet.

I loved this detail. It’s an abstract work of art in stone and moss.

7 responses to “Paths: Japanese Garden, Portland

  1. your pictures are beautiful! where is this japanese garden in portland? i’ve never been to oregon and have contemplated a vacation there…and this is one place that i would really like to see!

    • Melinda – you can google the Japanese Garden for the exact address, but it’s up on a hill above the city, and across the street from our world famous Rose Garden. June is an incredible month for roses, but almost any time is good for both gardens. We also have an amazing traditional Chinese garden in the Old Town section of Portland. If you’ve never been to Oregon, schedule at least a week just for Portland, the Columbia River Gorge and on out to the coast.

      PS Cool stuff you’re selling! I’m a big ikebana enthusiast…

  2. wow again! thanks for all the info on oregon – now i REALLY want to visit there sometime!! if your pictures are any indication of what awaits me, it will be GREAT!
    do you do professional photography? your pictures really are terrific!
    and thanks for your comment on our website. we are a small family run business, but we love to find unusual things and share them. i’ll be getting in a lot more ikebana, so let me know what you think! i’ll keep checking your blog – you lead such a fascinating life!

  3. You also have to visit Powell’s Books and eat at any one of hundreds of great restaurants… or just walk around. This is a city for walkers and bikers.

    Thanks for the kind words on my photos. No, I’m not a pro, not even very good. But I know how to crop! And some subjects, like the Jap. Garden are hard to photograph badly.

  4. just read some of your other stuff – how about this for a “P” –
    PURE delight! you are one smart cookie. its so refreshing to read a blog by someone with brains who can beautifully articulate her thoughts!
    and how about another “P” –
    “POLITICALLY astute” -love your comments on palin (insightful!!) and our great new prez.!
    one more “P” –
    PLEASE keep up the good work!

  5. Melinda – come by any time… Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  6. Hi there,
    I work with a non-profit organization called the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project. We are self-publishing a book about Healthy Caregiving and we were wondering if could obtain rights to use your photo (second from the top) for the book.
    If you could write us back, that would be great!

    You can write to me or the author of the book:
    Patricia Smith
    Founder, CFAP