I went to this beautiful municipally-owned garden in the eastern side of my town today:
Nicely trimmed pine trees on the near side and a little hill on the far side, with islands floating on the pond in between… so exquisitely well-planned!
This garden is assumed to have been built some three hundred years ago as part of an estate belonging to a wealthy merchant. But over time, as it got passed around to different owners, it was left to ruin… until about a hundred and twenty years ago, the then head of one of the conglomerates in my homeland took a couple of years to restore it, to use it as a place to entertain his employees and business partners.
Ever since, the garden continues to be rebuilt, now by the municipality. Maybe it can never be restored to its full form, and because it is sits now in the middle of tall modern buildings we will probably never be able to see the same view as my ancestors did. Maybe they will be disappointed, or displeased, that we have failed to inherit everything they have left us.
Nevertheless, I believe we have rightly inherited the heart of it. Maybe it does not have the exact same physical beauty as it did when it was first built, but I think we have done a fairly good job learning to see its inner beauty with our minds’ eyes. Maybe our ancestors will be proud of us that we still get the same feelings they did when we come to this place.
We did such a good job, even this blue heron is awed by the view!
And although it cannot be priced, maybe the scenery we have recreated here is a proof that we have successfully inherited a fortune.
I came here today because they were holding a one-day academy in tea service and calligraphy, with students from a nearby all-girls secondary school as instructors. These are two more kinds of inheritance which have been passed down to us more by heart than through form.
A simplified tea set, called “tray serving”
The founder would never have imagined traditional tea being served sitting in chairs, on tables, wearing Western clothing… but I think it tastes just as good! This girl who made a bowl of tea for me was very well-taught, of the techniques and the heart of the art.
The instructor’s and my “knowing what’s enough” – I’m sure you can tell which one is which
I have not picked up a calligraphy brush since I was the age of these girls, so I needed some serious… er, brush-up! But, thanks to a wonderful instructor girl who very patiently walked me through the key points, I feel I was able to write a lot better than I thought… what do you think?
All in all, I had a fantastic time inheriting a fortune from my ancestors today. I am well aware that I have been very much Westernized, but even so, maybe the apple – or the leaf – does not fall far from the tree…
… I found this red leaf that had fallen in a stone basin, and when I looked in, I saw it was not alone, being surrounded by the reflection of the tree it fell from in the water… ah, what a fine place to fall, if it had to fall!