“When you walk on cobblestones, think of me. It’s one of my favorite things…” This is what a friend told me before embarking on my solo trip to Italy. Their other advice was, “Taste everything!” Being the adventurous eater that I am, I certainly did not need the second bit of encouragement.
The first bit, though, about the cobblestones, is a romantic notion. I mean romantic in the sense that walking on cobblestones in an old, old world is adventurous and mysterious. “Who walked these streets before me?” “What quarrels occurred in this place?” “What brilliant ideas did people have while walking this road?” Italy is, in every way, romantic.
Japan is romantic. It’s natural beauty is breathtaking at every turn. Take one walk through a garden and you’ll understand how a belief like Shintoism came to be. In every garden, every beautiful place, that we walked in Japan I wondered who had been there before me. Who sat on this rock, overlooking this pond, and what great ideas came to them? What worship did they do here? What about themselves, nature, and humanity did they learn? In these places, walking these steps, I understand how people can feel a deep desire, a deep need, to worship nature.
Now, I believe that nature was created, and that the creator is one to be worshipped, but that isn’t what this post is about. This post is about the romantic nature of Japan. The old world feeling, even in such a crowded place, that can be found in Japan. I could sit in any of these gardens for hours on end just thinking and reflecting. What a wonderful life that would be.
Many of the gardens we visited were developed by people. Kings and warriors commissioned gardens that they could just sit in or walk through in order to be alone with their thoughts. Alone in nature. And that is a magnificent thing. I look at these photos and I long for the peaceful serenity that can be found here. I’ll find a place like these here in Southern California. One day. I know of some places already that might satisfy my longing.
Where do you find your peace? A tranquil garden? The highest mountain or deepest sea? Is it even in nature? It’s okay if it’s not. Find your peace. You won’t regret the feeling.
All cherry blossom photos (and about half the other photos in this post) taken by David Eagle.