Hidden away amidst the bustle of Portland, Oregon’s Chinatown district is the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Lan Su was completed in 2000 and is considered the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China.
Sixty-five artisans from the city of Suzhou in China worked in Portland for 10 months building the garden that includes over 400 plant species found in traditional Chinese Gardens.
A quite walk reveals something special at every turn. Doorways and windows woven throughout the garden reveal special focused views of water, rocks, lush foliage and blossoms.
The garden is a place of tranquility where one is encouraged to leave burdens behind and connect with nature.
At one end of the garden, the ritual of tea is performed at the Tower of Cosmic Reflections Teahouse, run by the Tao of Tea.
A table card explains the intended focus of the tea ceremony.
There is a full menu of smoky, earthy and perfumed tea blends.
One can also enjoy a full array of sweet and savory bites, including a Marbled Tea Egg, roasted pumpkin seeds seasoned with green tea and crunchy almond cookies.
It is said that the tower is so named, because one can see the cosmos reflected in the lake outside the teahouse.
It is hard to deny the sense of serenity and contemplation inspired by the setting, the period music and the intermingling of nature, food and ritual.
One can only wonder if our modern society has perhaps lost its way and might rediscover a sense of direction and balance with a visit to the winding paths of Lan Su Chinese Garden.
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