THROUGH MY LENS: Shooting the Moon

The Moongate Garden, Enid A. Haupf Gardens, Smithsonian Castle, Washington, DC

The Moongate Garden, Enid A. Haupf Gardens, Smithsonian Castle, Washington, DC

There is a beautiful, secret place hidden behind Smithsonian Castle in Washington. Though all the surrounding gardens are lovely, the Moongate Garden pictured above was a true treasure for me to visit. It is arranged on such symmetrical, visually pleasing lines, and filled with perfectly placed trees, shrubs and flowers, that it would be difficult not to take a good picture of it.

The garden is meant to replicate the landscape around the Temple of Heaven in China, an ancient complex that once served as the site of annual ceremonies of prayers for a good harvest. I visited it a few years ago, luckily enough in the spring, just in time to catch the pink bloom on the lilting crabapple tree. Walking in, I felt it to be a place of extreme quiet and peace, a refuge in the otherwise busy grounds around the Smithsonian.

At the garden’s center rests a square black pool; you can see only just a hint of it in the photo on the right. The watery depths provide a smooth visual resting place from the tapestry of life surrounding it, a yin to their yang. They are so dark that looking at them made me feel if I stepped in, I would be lost forever. Part of me wants to be there in the garden again now, water-gazing, dreaming on.