Monday, May 4, 2015

Missing the Japanese Garden

I miss the Osaka Japanese Garden; now is the time of year when I would seek it out on a spring time walk. My kids consider it "theirs." Goes to show how vulnerable our love for a public place is, because currently Wooded Island in the Jackson Park lagoon, where the Japanese Garden is situated, is fenced off and under construction. In fact, the entire lagoon, south of the Museum of Science and Industry and a few blocks from where we live, is drained. Since I can't go on a real stroll in the Japanese Garden, I decided I'll dig into my picture trove and go on a virtual one. These photos are from two years ago.

The garden should look approximately like this right now as most trees along the lakefront (Lake Michigan is a "block" to the right of where you are "standing" in this picture) are still not green. To the left in the background is the rear portico of the Museum of Science and Industry.

How clean was that lagoon? And yet Wooded Island was always popular with local fishermen. They are now displaced, too.

In about two weeks, the garden should look like this, if it is even tended to. The next set of pictures were taken mid May in 2013. Off in the distance is my son. As I was saying, the garden is really his, and that of many other neighborhood children, I am sure.

This is just like a tenderly brushed-in water color, isn't it? What delight for the soul after a long and gray winter!

The pagoda--the perfect spot for a little picnic, even when it's damp and nippy. These days we can only glimpse the top of the pagoda's roof as we drive by.

Be well, dear garden! I hope no one hurts you in the interim, and I hope you will reawake to your old serene splendor whenever the City of Chicago wraps up its Wooded Island restoration project.


  1. Hi,
    I paid on May 2 for the memoir-writing workshop set to start May 4 but have not received word on how to access information. I have sent you a private email and called the Hemingway office but have not received a response. Please advise if this workshop is no longer viable so I can get my refund. My email is

  2. Annette, have you ever gone to the Japanese Garden in Rockford? It's really a lovely spot. A bit of a ride for you but might be worth a trip.

    1. Nancy, remember I visited the Japanese Garden in Rockford a while back:
      I wish I had the time for a day trip there but I can't make it any time soon; I'd love to experience it in spring.

  3. This brings back memories. I went to high school two blocks away from Jackson Park in the mid-1980s. Jackson Park was then and is still today the most beautiful park in Chicago, but it was wilder and crazier back then. I still have dreams about it at least once a month.

    Was driving past the other day and was going to stop in, but, as you said, it is fenced off.

    1. Tom, the thing I like about Jackson Park is that it is never overrun and there are beautiful surprises to be discovered. My kids always loved the golden statue on Hayes Drive as well. BTW, just read in our neighborhood paper that it might take five years until they reopen the Wooded Island. Sad, isn't it?

  4. It is sad! There's some kind of snafu with the contracts of the workers or something, but hopefully they get that resolved. However, like you say, one of the things I like about Jackson Park is that, like the East Side, most people in Chicagoland have no idea it exists!