The first time I stumbled onto Kelowna’s Kasugai Japanese Garden, I felt the city around it fall away. A waterfall hid much of the traffic sounds. Birds and butterflies flitted from branch to flower. Graveled paths crunched under my feet.
Tucked into an enclosure behind City Hall, the garden is a tribute to the city’s friendship with its Japanese sister city. From the first blossoms of spring through the leaves’ falling in autumn, two doorways stand open to welcome visitors. My walking route often takes me past it, and I invariably detour through the garden. If I look up, I can see downtown buildings rising above it. But if I keep my focus within the walls, I can feel my spirit fall quiet.
Though I loved the quiet and beauty of my years on a ranch in British Columbia’s Cariboo region, I’m an urbanite at heart. Still, I need nature around me, and my downtown Kelowna neighbourhood provides it.
In 2005 Richard coined the term, “nature deficit disorder”, when he published his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. He warned that only time spent in nature will prepare future stewards of our planet.
Kasugai Japanese Garden is one small contribution to preparing the next generation of earth stewards, and that gives me hope.
Kasugai: Kelowna’s Secret Garden is available in both printed and iPad formats.