Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains, 3

The mountain dominates the small island upon which it stands. Its foothills are covered with straggly vegetation; there’s a curving beach below it; and the whole island rises out of the surrounding sea —

But this “mountain” is actually the centerpiece of a Japanese “dry landscape”, a type of garden called karesansui, in which a shapely stone represents the mountain, a few plants —sometimes none — become forests or scrub, and the sea isn’t water, but sand often raked, as here, in rippling patterns. Karesansui is usually what’s meant when people speak of Zen gardens. This fine specimen isn’t in Japan, however, but in Maine, in the famed Asticou Azalea Garden of Northeast Harbor, on Mount Desert Island. It’s an enchanted place — and as guidebooks say, well worth the detour!


This entry was posted in Art, Buddha, Gardens, Japan, Nature, Photography, Zen and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains, 3

  1. barb19 says:

    I’ve never heard of Karesansui before, but I like it! Trust the Japanese to come up with this! Very relaxing raking the sand.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      The sand-and-stone type is influenced by Zen Buddhism, and essentially meditative. Raking the sand, as you say!
      Stroll gardens are another type, with many more landscape features, and including water in some form or other.
      In a small country, which gave us bonsai for trees, it’s logical that the Japanese use a miniaturization process to create mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls!

  2. suitablefish says:

    What a great photograph and interpretation of mountains. I love spending peaceful time in Kerasansui gardens. Thanks for sharing this photograph.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      And thank you for the comment, and for coming by!
      Before we moved to Massachusetts ten years ago, we actually had a garden of this type, perhaps the only such on a quarter-acre plot in a Levitt development on Long Island. I don’t miss that former life — but I do miss the garden.

  3. What a great entry. A few years ago I had the pleasure of experiencing the calming effects of the Tenshin-En Garden at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. It was perfect after a busy day of sightseeing.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      It’s a little gem, isn’t it?
      Thanks for the comment, Tree (who grows in Brooklyn, where also grow, as you of course know, all those fantastical cherry trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. It’s where I think I came by my lifelong love of Japan. There’s a snapshot of me at 2 or so, toddling under the cherry trees in bloom.)

  4. Stef says:

    The raked sand feels SO peaceful to me…

  5. Wonderful photo – and thanks for the link to the Asticou Azalea Garden. I’m adding it to my wish list of places to visit!

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