How do they do it? Every inch of Portland’s Japanese garden elicits a sigh of recognition. Nature as the ultimate beauty. Sigh. One is invited to breathe it in through all the senses simultaneously. The sounds of water, visible or not, throughout. The contrast of stone against plant holding your interest so it never flags from step to step.
At times last Sunday spectators filled the paths, but a bench opened up inside a mini pagoda structure looking out on this scene, so we sat down for some sketching. I’m learning not to freak out about the complexity of forest scenes, to tell myself to start out with a kind of nature doodle, letting the pen wander, then coming back with playful layers of watercolor, and perk it up at the end with a colored gel pen. The important thing is, can you look at it and feel the cool forest air and hear the water?
Next day we started at the Hoyt Arboretum with its miles of specialized trails ribboning up the hill back and forth: the red pine, the spruce, the redwood, the hawthorn and magnolia and holly and more! We picnic lunched at a forest outlook point and later stopped above the fragrant rose garden where I had time to sketch this appealing restroom while we waited for the bus to take our weary feet back “home”.