Sankeien Garden Yokohama
Friday I only had one meeting scheduled late, so I decided to brave the very foggy and rainy day and venture forth to the Sankeien Garden. It was out of the way, but I read great things about it, so not caring about pictures not turning out OK or getting lost, or getting wet, I went anyway.
I can only assume that the place was mostly empty because of the suboptimal weather, but I was very very happy to walk around there almost by myself.
Words escape me to describe that place. Paradise on Earth. Where my soul belongs to. Where I must have lived in a previous life if there is such a thing… the feeling of belonging, peace, harmony, and happiness that I felt was that strong.
I went around for a long while, awe struck, with my jaw open, before noticing that I was not taking any pictures. And this is the kind of place that makes you seem like a photographer because there is no wrong angle. Everything is absolutely perfect. Beyond perfect.
In every old building (4 of them considered “national treasures”) I marveled at every detail. Luckily in one of them I met the director of conservation, who told me in a very good English, many interesting facts about the customs in eras gone by, the way the tools were built and used, what daily life was like back then… Quite a learning experience.
But it was not about the facts, it was all about the feelings. Truly spiritual, and I don’t consider myself to be spiritual, perhaps as a reaction to 14 years of education and strict discipline in a Catholic school for boys. I felt and understood both Zen and Shintoism there. Musk seemed to speak to me. Stones felt like they had a soul. Trees were my brothers. And crows, frogs, cranes, spiders, cats, ducks, carps, and all the animals there seemed to welcome me to their world. Because no matter how menacing and destructive the factories on the other side of the highway seemed, this is not “our” world. And we are delusional fools to believe otherwise.
I sat for hours, literally, in front of a house on a lake, visualizing my living there, with my loved ones. Can love be enhanced or diminished by place? I never thought so, but perhaps a harmonious environment enhances emotions, and makes us more sensitive to them. Like waves amplifying each-other through synchronization (not overlapping). After all, it’s all energy. We are information processing and communication carbon units. We transform energy.
At one point, standing next to the most magnificent small waterfall I have ever been close to, and listening to its murmur, I felt like I was melting, melting away, and becoming one with the ground under my feet. Then I realized that I was getting completely soaked from the rain. And I did not mind. I was not afraid of “catching pneumonia”, I had no need to run away from the falling drops. Just like the spiders hanging in there, waiting for the rain to stop, so they could rebuild their nets, I was standing there, stoically, waiting for the rain to stop so it would not distort the net picture. That was it, no frustration, no fear, no sadness…
All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. – Roy
I could go on about the feelings and sensations, about the couple dressed in traditional clothes for their wedding pictures, the old lady with whom I had a green tea by the lake, the salamander who found a way into an emergency light casting it’s silhouette for me to see as if it was a kabuki show, the stone lantern that is said to have saved the life of a tea master, or the brutal simplicity of one of the first Zen temples… but how could I ever communicate that with you? How can that be shared?
The curse of being alone again, of wishing to share to make the experience full. And this is how I understand that we are not isolated “brains”, but communicated “beings”. And that’s why selfish self-centered and destructive individuals who disregard the community are the biggest threat we face… along an artificial and forced “community” where a concentrated structure of power works to the benefit of the few, feeding on the suffering of the many.
No matter how much I enjoy being completely alone, I was born to share.
So I will try the haiku that came to my mind in those hours of contemplation: