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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mother's Day

My mom lives in Portland.
She's lived there for close to half a century.

But she's never been to the Portland Japanese Garden.

During Portland's Spring, it is often ill-considered to depend upon non-rainy weather for outdoor events, but as the weather reports grew more and more optimistic for the weekend, I began planting the idea of a garden visit. I expected the 'ole trick knee excuse, but Mom surprised me by accepting my offer.

My mom's trick knee excuse is not without corroborating  anecdotal evidence. She often (and by often I mean really often) tells the story about how, when I was an innocent baby cradled in her protective arms, her trick knee suddenly went out on her causing her to fall and somehow jettison me high into the air. Later, she reports, they managed to find me under a bed where I had evidently bounced. This story may explain some of my trust issues. It also may explain why she walks carefully, eyeing the ground as if it has betrayed her in the past.

We brought a folding stool with us, in case she needed to sit down along the trail, but were pleased to find ample quantities of comfortable benches.

There are so many benches that I was initially going to make this blog post be exclusively about The Benches at the Japanese Gardens. I thought it would be pretty funny to ignore all the beautiful parts of the garden and just show my mom's favorite benches...but there were many beautiful parts of the garden.

While not actually a bench, countless butts sit on this bridge rail, helping their owners pose for stealth portraits - stealth portraits because the rules forbid portrait photography which mostly means the garden society doesn't want visitors to have to put up with portable-studio wielding professionals.

This bench, at the east end of the bridge, really fits well into its environment, though mom thinks it's a little bit short.

This bench provides a marvelous view of what I like to call the Portrait Bridge, and the infinite line of portrait takers.

There's a bench off to the right, but it didn't fit in with my efforts to capture a maze-like picture of the zigzag bridge.

I think there were 3 benches at this location. 

I think my mom enjoyed the time she spent on this bench. She has a deep appreciation for the beauty in creation. However, she is not likely to be pleased to find out  she was included in some of the pictures I was taking.

This bench graces the intersection that leads to the Natural Garden. The path through the Natural Garden is narrow and uneven and supposedly one-way. I was concerned that maybe this path would be too challenging, but by this time on our visit, I found Mom sitting on this bench, filling out an application to become a Sherpa.

Here Mom is reading the map saying, "I think this is the Three Arch Rocks national wildlife area, but I can't see the ocean." 

From the Stone Garden, a significant staircase climbs to the Pavilion, but this bench is strategically placed about half way up. 

This bench sits at the top of the stairs.

My mother gives this particular bench very high marks.

A bench on the pavilion veranda.

This picture reveals the Flat Garden, but what I seem to remember most is the curves.

The bench next to the Gift Shop.

My parents brought me into the world, and with all the experience gained from a twenty year head start, they began blazing a path through life, teaching me to walk, showing me directions to go, giving me examples to follow...and my Mom is still up ahead on that path, encountering new challenges...forever dispensing grace and love.

Thanks Mom.

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