Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's OPEN!

by aleks
Enjoy this from Nat's email on the subject, dated Feb. 14th:

February's soft sunlight gently washed over the Shinto altar at yesterday's blessing and renewal ceremony.  Walking about afterward, talking with friends, I felt the light take on an almost timeless quality.  In winter, before foilage and flower soften and hide,  the 'bones' of the Garden's design lay before us.  And it's not just the sense of sight that's affected.  All the senses are.  Consider, for example, the scent of sake, in the absence of competition from plant fragrances.  How it wafts some time after it's been sprinkled, along with salt and paper squares, by Reverend Barrish in the 4 precincts.    
The weather forecast for today was 'rainy all day', yet it brightened up and rays of sunshine graced the water in the pond during the opening of the Seattle Japanese Garden for 2011 season (from noon till 3 PM)....

SJG 2/13/11 - blooming camellia
The lovely blooming camellia greets visitors right after the fork of the road, past the entrance.  It was so nice to see people filling the garden once again, after the closed winter months.  The newly pruned from excess vegetation east side of the eastern path looks now airy, lacy and transparent, the way it should in the Japanese  Garden, and not like a jungle it was last fall.

People were filling in for a traditional Shinto blessing of purifying the air, water and earth before the new season in the Garden - it's done every year by Rev. Barrish, who chants, offers sake, rice and flowers while asking to bless the garden....
SJG - 2/13/11 • Rev. Barrish and Shinto altar on the moon viewing platform
SJG 2/13/11 • People observing the ceremony from the orchard

SJG 2/13/11 • Rice offering
SJG 2/13/11 • Flower offering
SJG 2/13/11 • Sake offering

SJG 2/13/11 • Kids back on the zig-zag bridge, looking for koi

SJG 2/13/11 • Sorry, couldn't help myself:  cool shoes! where can I get a pair like that?
SJG 2/13/11 • the Koi didn't freeze, after-all:)
SJG 2/13/11 • 'Did you get the pic of the people?' asked Nat...
So here they are again, sitting in the orchard...

The calligraphy workshop followed the Shinto blessing - Midori Kono Kiel was in charge of the workshop.


  1. Great shots of the ceremony, Aleks. Sorry I couldn't be there, and can't wait to visit soon.

  2. Love the smallest of the koi - a survivor! And the captions identifying the offerings as well as - the people.

  3. Thank you for your words and photos, Aleks. This was a beautiful day and ceremony. The air was fragrant with the smell of new spring growth and sake, auspicious for an inspiring new season in the garden.

  4. thank you, Lynnda, Monzie and jeanne. it was a beautiful ceremony, indeed. although i missed the buddhists... it felt much more complete to me when they were invited 2 years ago, along with the shinto priest.