Peace. That elusive feeling we are all desperately searching for. The hectic lifestyle most of us lead, with constant pressure, deadlines, and non-stop connectivity to remind us of what we have yet to achieve, can make finding any semblance of that peace feel like a distant dream. Yet, peace is the only word I can use to adequately describe the feeling I got right when I stepped through the wooden gates of the aptly named Tenshin-en (Garden of the Heart of Heaven), in the busy city of Boston, MA. Part of the Museum of Fine Arts, the garden was closed for renovations for 18 months, but reopened this April featuring a brand new gate, designed by a renown garden master from Kyoto Japan. The traditional gate opens up to reveal a meticulously designed garden that is evocative of the style used in Zen Temples.With white gravel, carefully raked around rocks and other small patches that resemble islands, one really does get the impression that you are looking at a vast landscape, with calming waters surrounding the shores. The design was inspired by the New England landscape, with its mountains and shores, and a breathtaking natural beauty.
A surprising variety of plants and flowers bring pleasant dashes of color to the landscape, making a nice contrast to Evergreen trees and the perfectly arranged large rocks that make up the different individual sections or “islands”.
Leaving the garden was truly difficult, but other wonders of Japanese culture were waiting inside the museum. In addition to their fabulous permanent collection of Asian and Japanese art, they recently had a fantastic exhibit of the work by famous Japanese artist Hokusai, which I wrote about here
, but which unfortunately has already ended. The Japanese Garden on the other hand, is a welcome permanent fixture to the Museum of Fine Arts, and it is a place you can visit anytime you are in search of a little peace in the city, provided it is within Museum hours. For more information on Tenshin-en or the MFA and its exhibits visit their website
What is your favorite garden in the city? Please share suggestions on other places I should visit!