The Babbling Brook
Over the weekend I was looking over old photographs from our time in Kyoto, Japan. Oh how nostalgic it made me. The cherry blossom, the mochi, the bowl of mountains hugging the city, the golden temples and zen rock gardens, the green tea, and a younger self freewheeling on a bicycle. But perhaps most of all I really miss the water!
Most days would find me meandering down backroads on my bike visiting temple gardens to sit by the streams, crossing bridges and stepping stones, taking the waters in their steaming public bath houses, or simply cycling home along the Kamo Gawa which flowed like an artery through the city. Gathered along its banks were kids playing badminton, business men cycling to work, fathers and sons fishing, families picnicking, students doing tai chi and herons and kites always circling. I found the river endlessly soothing.
My favourite place was a little visited corner in the grounds of one of the cities major temples. Tucked away in the woods was a babbling brook, tumbling over mossy rocks. I used to go regularly to gather my thoughts, and just be. It is a place I carry with me in my heart.
And then I realised that many of my favourite places in the world have this same feature. The babbling brook which soothes my gabbling mind and brings me back to my breath, to myself, rooting me once again in the gentleness of nature.
Our garden at the Pink House is really starting to take shape. The bulbs I planted last autumn are coming into flower now. I have been pruning raspberries and roses, planting another buddleia for the butterflies and loganberries for us. Earth and air are well incorporated into our garden. I want to introduce the other two element. Fire will come about through a fire pit in the lawn, ringed with a ceremonial circle of stones. But water… I don’t want a tacky water feature which uses electricity. What I really want is a babbling brook, just like in Japan. Just a small ask!
And then today we went for a long walk, meandering through our wonderful village park, which NO ONE uses. Last year, when we had no lawn in our own garden we appropriated it as a home from home with regular picnics and Pimms parties in the privacy of our own park which, on the sunniest of days, we had all to ourselves, only five minute walk from our door.
But I digress – all this writing about water is making me meander! So we were playing in the park when suddenly, above the drone of the heavy earth-moving machinery next door, I heard my favourite sound in the world: the babbling brook. And sure enough, there at the bottom of the park: a little waterfall. Although I come from this village originally, and have been settled back in the area for 6 years, I never knew we had one! The stream is usually just a fly-infested trickle. But here, in my own appropriated backyard, was just what I had been yearning for complete with mossy stones and even a weeping willow!