The sounds of the world outside faded away, absorbed into the
leaves. I stood there, not moving. For a moment I felt that nothing
had changed since I was last here, almost thirty-five years before
the scent of pine resin sticking to the air, the bamboo creaking and
knocking in the breeze, the broken mosaic of sunlight scattered over
Guided by memory's compass, I began to walk into the garden.
I made one or two wrong turns but came eventually to the pond. I
stopped, the twisting walk through the tunnel of trees heightening
the effect of seeing the open sky over the water.
Six tall, narrow stones huddled into a miniature limestone mountain
range in the center of the pond. On the opposite bank stood
the pavilion, duplicated in the water so that it appeared like a paper
lantern hanging in midair. A willow grew a few feet away from the
pavilion's side, its branches sipping from the pond.
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