stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Friday, September 23, 2005

The real path!

I was in Kyoto for the first time, in Japan for the first time. A wonderful but stange place. In my elegant hotel room there was an abstact painting. I admired its lines, its gold and black depths.

I was there on a study tour of Japanese gardens and Kyoto has the best examples. So many temples, and so old. What a heritage. I was in a happy whirl of experiences, and felt totally at home in the gardens.

It had been pre- arranged for us to visit the Imperial Villa of Katsura, much easier for tourists than the locals. But even that took a personal visit to the Imperial Office with details of our dates of birth and even our occupations! We were accompanied by an Imperial Household guide who gave a commentary, only in Japanese, and also a guide who brought up the rear to ensure we didn't stray off the path, fall in the lake or take photos where we were not permitted.

What a perfect garden! Huge, but not a leaf out of place - and this was autumn. Even the fallen leaves looked as if each one had been separately placed.

Almost back at the entrance, we walked past a thatched gate that led into a courtyard of yet another small villa. And there was the abstract painting! So it wasn't just an image from the artist's imagination, but a real object. Of all objects that could have been in the painting in my room, it was a path from a Japanese garden. Of all the gardens in Kyoto, it was one I went to. I thought it was quite remarkable.

I found out later that the path is called The Stepping Stones of Truth.