Peace is the Path

As the beautiful and warm fall days continue, so do my outdoor walking jaunts. When my work finished early today, and Greg’s plans shifted, we made a spontaneous decision to drive to Springfield, Missouri.

We enjoyed a delightful light lunch and tea at the tea house located inside Relics Antique Mall. And although we did a quick walk through the huge flea market, that was not my chosen destination for today’s walk. Springfield has a botanical center, that happened to be near the antique mall. Within the center is a 7.5 acre Japanese garden. It’s been several years since I’ve walked through that garden. It was the perfect day for another visit.

Established in 1985, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden includes koi ponds, meditation gardens, a sand garden, a tea house, a Moon bridge, waterfalls, and numerous plants, trees, stone pagodas and lanterns, all easily accessed by winding paved paths.

The garden was created in honor of the relationship between Springfield and her sister city, Isesaki, Japan. Gardeners from Isesaki provided many hours of support and shared their knowledge and creative ideas for this authentic stroll garden.

The garden’s namesake, Yuriko Mizumoto Scott, was instrumental in bringing the garden into existence. She served as a translator and host for the Japanese architects, gardeners and carpenters who visited Springfield during the garden’s creation. The garden was named in her honor in 2004.

Strolling through the garden, it is obvious that great care went into the creation of this enchanted place. And it is just as obvious that great attention is given to its upkeep and maintenance. The garden is simple in its design and yet endlessly intriguing. Grass covered mounds of earth create interest while defining spaces, and natural elements, such as rocks, water and trees provide beauty and also healing benefits.

This walled Japanese garden is one of the most peaceful places I have ever encountered. Today there were only a few other people walking the paths and we saw them but briefly. It felt like we had the garden to ourselves. There was time to reflect as we walked, and sit on one of the many benches placed strategically along the path, and talk quietly.

As I walked, soaking up the sunshine and the beauty, listening to the twitter of birds and the gurgling of water, I was reminded of this quote by Dan Millman:

There is no path to Happiness. Happiness is the path. There is no path to Love. Love is the path. There is no path to Peace. Peace is the path.

These are my paths…Happiness, Love, Peace…along with Health. Ever my companions, they guide my journey.

I left the Japanese Stroll Garden inspired to add some creative elements to my own backyard garden. And I left determined to return to this gorgeous paradise more often. Next time I will bring a backpack full of healthy snacks, a journal, a sketchpad…and stay a while.