Monday, June 27, 2011

Anderson Japanese Gardens

This June has offered northern Illinois an unusually large number of cool, cloudy days, some rainy. In between are more standard summer-like days. Mr. Blue Sky never does tell us why he has to be away for so long, but then again rain has its underrated charms. Despite cool conditions, crickets have started singing by night, and I've even spotted a firefly or two.

During one of those summer-like days recently we went to Rockford to visit the Anderson Japanese Gardens. We'd been there before, but it was like going somewhere new because the last time was nearly nine years ago, and that was during the fall. It was time to experience the gardens in the summer. In both seasons, Anderson remains one of my favorite Japanese gardens, and I've seen a few.

The one that impressed me most is still Ritsurin Koen in Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. But part of that was circumstance. The morning I visited Ritsurin Koen, a heavy summer rain had just fallen, adding luster to the already artfully lush setting. Even better, I had the place to myself, a rarity in Japan.

Anderson has artful lushness too, and is only a little more than an hour away. It has bridges.

And waterfalls.

And expansive ponds.

And much more. Yuriko feels that Anderson is very much like a garden in Japan, and I thought the only thing missing was an on-site temple, complete with monks periodically ringing temple bells.

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