Lush, Arid, Austere

DSCN0990There are areas of South Florida that are wonderfully, tropically lush. My back yard with its orchids and Meyer lime and ferns has that kind of exuberance that reminds me of Cali and Boquete. It doesn’t take much though, to realize that there is plenty of hardscrabble, arid landscape as well, and when it mixes with the concrete monotony of the suburbs in this part of the world, my soul just wants to wither and die.

Early this morning, I picked up Maria and then went to the dealership where I had an appointment to get the oil changed in my car.  We were in the landscapes of desolation I can’t wait to leave behind.  She and I had also agreed that we would go on an outing of some sort when my car was ready.  After the past few days I suggested we go to a Japanese garden I had heard about but never actually visited in Boca Raton.   Quite a while ago, I wrote about a “Bell Sound Meditation” I had been doing after stumbling across it on Krista Tippet’s On Being program.  Today I felt a pull to the kind of spaciousness I had found in that meditation and I had some kind of hope that I would find something similar at the Morikami Gardens.

It is quite lovely.  If I had been alone, I could have spent a long time at one of the rock gardens but with my girl with me, it was not fair to try to make more of this than a chance to ‘come and see’.  I got a membership and I look forward to lots more times visiting Morikami in the time I have left in Southeast Florida.

I did get to sit long enough in one to realize that I needed neither lush nor arid landscape. My soul was tended to by the austerity of these kinds of spaces–so precise, so mindful, so stripped down to the essentials.  Each of those carefully drawn lines through the stones implied all the other ways the space could have been filled and probably filled stunningly and wasn’t.  Today, it was the severity and simplicity I found beautiful.

Tomorrow in the Episcopal Church, we read about the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.  All week, I have found myself asking, “what was it that Simon saw that day when a couple came in carrying a baby?”.  Today, I went looking for answers in the smooth stones and empty spaces at Morikami Garden.

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