the last brown leaves
John and I spent the afternoon at the Portland Japanese Garden. After last week's storm, everything looked cold and barren. Yet, this is one of the most beautiful times of the year in a Japanese garden—when the 'bones' are in their glory. Sinuous lines of tree branches form natural sculptures against the pale backdrop of winter. We enjoyed being alone in the garden, strolling slowly, remembering it in other seasons. My thoughts returned to winters in Japan—sitting in a favorite temple in the mountains outside Kyoto, warming my hands over an iron hibachi and gazing at the garden.
sunlight on tatami
the old Buddhist temple
smells of chrysanthemums
John and I ended our walk on the southeast side of the Japanese Garden pavilion with visit to the suikinkutsu (water harp). On the surface it looks like a water basin with water flowing from a bamboo spout. But buried beneath the ground is an upside down pot with a hole at the top. As water trickles through the pebbles at the base of the water basin it resonates through the underground chamber. The Japanese say it sounds like a koto, a thirteen-string zither, or a bell. To me, it sounds like pleasant splashing.
even the water harp
is frozen silent
Haiku are from Grinding my ink, which received a Haiku Society of America Book Award. Visit http://www.margaretchula.com for more information.