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!