I might be good at writing my Morning Pages, but I am horrible at keeping Artist Dates. These are two of the three pillars sustaining a creative life, according to Julia Cameron (see The Artist’s Way); the third is daily walks, which I’m also not so good at. It is quite simply very hard for me to fit in an Artist Date, i.e. doing something fun by myself, every week, and yet Julia Cameron is right that we need those dates to refill our creative well. I’ve been feeling the consequences of my well’s near depletion because these days, I am mainly exhausted. I just finished a guest post for another blog, and it took me way longer than it should have to get that done.

With this post I want to take you along on one of my rare Artist Dates,  my last one to date, when I visited the Japanese Garden at the Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park when I was in Grand Rapids last month. I wrote about this already in my last newsletter, but alas, in the newsletter I can only share a few images; I can’t “take you along.”

As you can see, it wasn’t spring yet when I visited. Most trees weren’t even budding (this was April 12).

I love Japanese gardens, their amazing attention to detail, and their little surprises–a rock wrapped in rope, a lantern hidden in a grove of trees, an uneven rocky path leading up a hill, a bench by the water’s edge, a fence tied in twine, a window to frame this carefully curated world, and Zen garden behind a wall.

Even a panoramic view of the entire garden invites contemplation as it is found at the end of another rocky path.

It wasn’t spring yet, so I was all the happier to find these yellow and silver beauties!

Japanese Gardens often offer a dose of whimsy, such as this toppled bronze buddha or trees in funny shapes.

Thankfully, for me, this Artist Date was also a daily walk–a two for one outing!