Last week I treated myself to what Julia Cameron calls an Artist’s Date, time spent by yourself in an interesting location to replenish the soul and gather images for the creative mind. I cleared my schedule, rented a car, packed a bag with camera, extra lens, water bottle and road atlas, printed out mapquest directions and headed northwest of Chicago to the city of Rockford. Destination: The Anderson Gardens, a large Japanese garden, a park really, that a friend had told me about and that since then had been on my list of places I’d like to visit.
|South Gate – a carved stone marker next to it reads Furo mon, or
“Ageless Gate,” a reminder to stay young in spirit
Anderson Gardens close on November 3 and don’t reopen until spring, so if I wanted to visit I had to get going. It was below 50F that day, with a nippy wind, and at the beginning of my walk through the gardens my fingers froze as I fiddled with the camera. It was also overcast most of the time, and the gardens were bathed in a grey haze. All that, however, had the benefit that I had this beautiful park virtually to myself except for a few gardeners who were tidying up for winter.
Walking through the South Gate I happened upon this little bridge without a railing. I love bridges without railings, little walkways across streams, because the Kurgarten in Wiesbaden where I used to go with my grandmother featured just such a giant slab across a little canal, off in the far reaches of the park, where few people ventured. As a little girl I always felt so brave walking across that bridge!
Waterfalls are an important feature of Japanese gardens, and often they have a stepping stone walkway right in front of them. A little farther on from the rail less bridge, I stood on stones carefully arranged in a stream (everything is carefully arranged in a Japanese garden) and took this video to capture that soothing sound of gurgling water.
I enjoyed this pictorial tour of Anderson Gardens so very much. We lived in Rockford from 1993-97 before we moved back to Kansas. And of course, we have toured Anderson Gardens more than once. You must go back in mid to late spring to see the gorgeous blossoms. Serene, tranquil, peacefilled–all these words describe this place. Many of us plan to make a visit to this place or that, then never get around to it. But you, Annette, do it. It's only one of the many things I admire about you. And thank you for sharing what you see on these visits with others.
Wow, Nancy! I didn't know you used to live in Rockford. What a gift it must have been to visit this place throughout the seasons. You've given me a great hint – I shall definitely try to make it up there again in spring. And thank you for your compliment, I really appreciate it. I do try to seize the day once in a while!
Looks like a beautiful place to walk through, Annette!
I've seen raked gravel in a Japanese zen garden before…
Thanks, William. Anderson Gardens is almost like a giant Japanese zen garden, if you will.
As usual, Annette, I'm impressed with your photography skills. Many of these shots are frame-worthy. I especially love the half-moon bridge and the close-up of the gate/window.
Jennifer, thank you so much, and especially for pointing out which pictures particularly resonated with you.
So beautiful, Annette! Thanks for the inspiration.
Irene, you are so welcome. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!