This Episode of TLH brought to you by sheer exhaustion and Shaun
She not only finagled a friday off work, but thoughtfully spent that day surprising me with a trip to one of my favorite places on earth.
Come on! We’re going over the Golden Gate bridge (yes it really is that pretty), into San Francisco, to The Japanese Tea Garden. It’s the perfect time of year to be in San Francisco. Mark Twain wasn’t kidding. Fall: cobalt blue skies, warm breeze, 70 degrees, no humidity. Tourist season is over, so it was us and the fall gardeners busy with winter pruning. The women in the ticket both inspected Shaun and I, and pronounced us “locals”, and would not take the regular entrance fee, even when we told them we didn’t live in San Francisco.
Spring is the Tea Garden’s big splashy drama. Fall is subtle: one’s focus is drawn to the beautiful structure of the garden, rather than the impossible explosion of cherry and plum blossoms. Why do I love it so much? I’ve been going since I was a kid. As formal tourist-attraction gardens go, it’s tiny. But it’s magic. I can’t move six inches without seeing the a completely different vista, a slightly changed focal point, a new frame for a changed picture.
Okay. And there are Koi. And Gen Mai tea that never tastes as good when brewed at home. And a small plate with three perfect squares of moochi. I’m seven again.
A stream winds through the grounds, maybe six to eight inches deep in most spots, with deeper hiding spots for the Koi. The water is perfectly clear. I skipped immediately to the stream: where are my Koi? The way I feel about Koi is the same way I felt about a pony as a child. My grandmother had a Koi pond, with some very old, very tame (read: demanding) Koi, that came to me for food, and to be stroked.
Unlike most horse-struck girls, I was going to have a pet pony AND a giant fish.
Without a ladder, it’s difficult to photograph the vistas from the narrow twisting paths: I focused instead on getting the feeling, rather than the view.
While Shaun was in her meeting, I wandered around the concourse between the De Young Museum and Academy of Sciences. Maybe that will be our next monday mini photo vacation!