Monday, December 19, 2005

Bonsai Siren Song

Being a strong believer in the strength and luck of the triad, I figured that there had to be at least one more cool lunch spot near my office. One of my grad school pursuits other than academia was cool spot dowsing, best performed without a map. There isn't a turnout with a hole in a fence between SF and Shallow Alto that I haven't traipsed down in search of idyllic glens and friendly wildlife. The more one practices this kind of dowsing the easier one recognizes the signs: barely visible trails, inviting trees, hidden hollows, birds pointing the way, frogs chirping, nostalgic odors.

The shores of Lake Merritt seemed a good bet so I circumnavigated it and found coolness beyond expectation in the form of the Lakeside Horticultural Center which humbly hosts a Japanese Garden complete with squirrels, egrets, bridges, and a bonsai section. Highlights include a crashing waterfall, a giant monkey tree, big mossy boulders, a pebble pond, and views of the shimmering lake & downtown Oakland skyscrapers through the foliage. The spot exudes a very peaceful vibration, just unkempt enough to make me feel at home. The "666" address doesn't hurt either.

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