Poetry in Portland

Our lack in posting means only one thing– yes, we were on location at another wedding. This time, our travels took us to Portland, Oregon to witness the beautiful wedding of Brian’s sister Rachel to our new brother-in-law Jon.  Aside from getting to visit with family, the trip out west was a great break from all the paperwork drama. There’s something about mountains and trees that seem to make even the greatest stresses disappear.

While we were in the City of Roses, we took the opportunity to visit the Lan Su Garden with Brian’s parents and some friends of the family. We were all in awe of the striking architecture, decorative silk paintings, and the careful thought that went into even the way water was diverted from the eaves of structures. Even though my own gardening style is English cottage (where more is more!), I loved the careful editing of every aspect of these gardens.

A beautiful lotus in bloom at the Lan Su gardens

We took advantage of a guided tour by a very knowledgeable guide who explained to us the philosophy of Chinese gardens– rock, water, plant, architecture, and poetry. Though I was surprised at the last element, I had my *aha* moment by the end of the tour.  The classical texts combined with the lush atmosphere did really complete the experience.

The single highlight of the visit to the garden for me was meeting a Chinese calligrapher in one of the buildings. Although it’s been a few years since I’ve dusted off my calligraphy pens, I felt at home with the Chinese brush and ink stick. We talked a little about the stylization of characters, and he let me give it a go. Now, at home several days later, I’ve found that practicing the calligraphy is really helping me learn the characters! I’m focusing primarily on the simple pictograms (like water, sun, moon, person, etc), but I think it’s a good start. I’m on my way!

A great view at the Lan Su garden


2 thoughts on “Poetry in Portland

  1. What a beautiful way to connect with your child’s culture. Thinking about your preparations and knowing that your son or daughter is already out there has me in tears. You two are going to be great parents!

  2. Kathleen and Brian,
    This was a special day with you. Even though we had visited the Garden before, it took on new meaning, knowing that we will have a grandchild whose culture this is. Much love, Amy

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