I turn a corner, and happen upon a small pond, filled with water irises all in bloom, their sword-shaped leaves reaching towards the sky. The pond is edged with azalea and has a backdrop of shaped fir trees. It is beautiful, a tiny spot of perfection.
All around me, people are taking photographs. There are kneeling professionals, aiming long lenses for the best angle, tourists with iphones, teenagers taking selfies. Everyone pauses, surprised by the beauty, snaps a shot. Then they move on. Very few make use of the wooden benches, stop a while, take time to absorb the scene. We have become a species that rushes to record, to collect, to own. But we rarely live in the moment. How many of these photographs, I wonder, will be examined, enjoyed. Or will they too be quickly glanced at before put away, the next event always being more pressing, more important.
This was art. The sculptured trees, the colour, the trickle of water, the flash of bright koi as they swam through lilies. I was startled by the beauty. It is, perhaps, the most beautiful scene I have ever encountered. Thank you for sharing it with me.
The water irises can be seen at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
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