Random Acts of "Kindness"

JAPANESE GARDEN

I don’t know where my love of flowers and gardens comes from. My mother’s mother always had a garden with flowers and vegetables. Many of my aunts on my father’s side always had lovely flowers blooming in their yards. I inherited their love of flowers and when I learned of the Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois I knew I wanted to go. A short announcement on a television program brought it to my attention. There is something about the sound of falling water mixing with the stones and trees in a Japanese Garden that sets it apart from other types. We planned to go on Thursday until I saw the weather forecast. Just for fun — I was going to wear a kimono type dress that I bought in Oahu.  Thursday’s temperature was forecast to be 94 and humid. We left very early on Tuesday morning, the temperature was already 73 degrees heading for 92. I wore a tank top and shorts. I’ll leave the kimono for another time.

We were at the garden by 10:30. We received a map detailing the various statues and buildings on the site. The garden is divided into two parts — the first is ancient Japan, with bamboo chairs and buildings, the second is modern — metal chairs, umbrellas for shade. Luckily there were many shaded areas and plenty of benches and other resting places. A light breeze was blowing as were made our way around. A few clouds passed by providing more shade. When I looked the garden up on the internet, their website had many lovely pictures of the garden which I thought were taken in May when azaleas were in bloom. I was very happy to see many flowering plants in various places in July. I loved the rocks — I saw a laughing face in one when we started our tour.

We heard the tall waterfall by the tea house before we saw it. I tried to meditate in a shelter near the waterfall but meditation has never been my strong suite.  It is no longer possible to climb to the top bridge by the waterfall because of insurance. Sitting on a rock in the middle of the pond were 8 yellow and brown bundles, little ducklings snuggled together while their mother swam near by. A lovely gift. I wondered if they were meditating.

The map referenced a raccoon husband and wife. Although I looked for statues and rocks I had not seen the pair. While my husband rested, I retraced my steps without any luck. Luckily a workman was nearby who knew where they were hiding — and hiding they were. The wife sculpture was next to a bench, the husband behind the leaves of a tree.

I would liked to have spent more time in the garden but the temperature was already rising. I learned that it is also very pretty in the Fall when the leaves are changing. We will have to go back. Maybe then I will wear my kimono.

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