Liliuokalani Park in Hilo

Today, I was delighted to be back in touch with a dear friend. A few years ago, she moved from western Colorado to Hawaii’s Big Island. http://www.gohawaii.com/big-island

With this blog in mind, I asked her about favorite places. She named many, including Volcanoes National Park, http://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm where, last year, she roasted a hot dog over a volcanic vent.

Liliuokalani Park in Hilo is special for her in a quieter and more ongoing way. It is a beautiful park with Japanese gardens. She walks there almost every day, and I understand why.

I haven’t been to Hawaii, yet, but, when we were living in Los Angeles, I enjoyed the Japanese garden at the Huntington Library in Pasadena. http://www.huntington.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=512

We loved to visit in the spring when the cactus in the desert garden were blooming. It was fun to see copies of  William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_of_Innocence_and_of_Experience  along with letters in the handwriting of countless great authors in the Library. http://www.huntington.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=544&linkidentifier=id&itemid=544 The American Art Gallery with its Hopper and Cassatt canvases was also a favorite stop.http://www.huntington.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=196&linkidentifier=id&itemid=196

My husband, daughter, and I often visited the tea garden at Descanso Gardens in La Canada. http://lacanadaflintridge.patch.com/articles/descanso-gardens-secret-summer-hot-spot

In fact, my daughter and I walked through those gardens almost every day after I picked her up from high school. We walked when the roses were blooming, and through oak-shaded groves of camellias.

We talked about everything and nothing. Sometimes, we didn’t talk at all. When she was studying for her part in Othello, http://shakespeare.mit.edu/othello/full.html she discussed the character and practiced her lines. I learned more from her insights than I had in any college class. Now, thinking about it all these years later, I am back there again.

Our garden here in Grand Junction has no Japanese tea house, though it does have a delightful fairy tale castle for children. The Western Colorado Botanical Garden celebrates plants that flourish in our high desert climate. http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-colorado-usda-plant-zone-hardiness-map.php It includes an herb garden, a cactus garden, and a sculpture garden celebrating local history. My husband and I like to photograph the frogs in their pond.  http://www.wcbotanic.org/ In the winter, their warm indoor tropical garden is a pleasant break from the snow.

Public gardens are special places. If a city were a day, then a garden would be a time set aside for meditation.

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