Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Grace Notes – Joanna Lau Sullivan Chinese Garden at the Honolulu Academy of Arts

I have to tell you a secret.

I think my mother thinks I’m writing these grace notes just for her. I get the best emails every week from her, telling me how much she loves them and what they mean to her. Yeah. After all this time. My mom still does that. Because she’s amazing.

I have to tell you a secret. 

I think in my heart of hearts, I’m writing these grace notes as a gift to my mother. After weeks of sitting down to contemplate the things I consider grace notes in my life, I realize everything on my list – even the ones I haven’t written about yet – are here because of her influence, guidance, and suggestion. Because she’s amazing.

Today’s grace note is no exception.

I know I went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts (now named the Honolulu Museum of Art, which sadly, to me, does not have the same cachet as an “academy” but I digress …) on school trips, but I remember it most as a place to explore with my mother. When I was old enough to really appreciate the long halls; vast in their white space to best accentuate the art; and old enough to not go wondering off and touch all the things that shouldn’t be touched; we would often make an afternoon of it.

Several hours wandering through the beautiful corridors and gardens. Lunch in the café, a swing by the gift shop, and then perhaps a trip to the upscale Ward Center to peek in on the boutiques and shops where the pile of the carpet came up to your ankles. It was beautiful bonding time and I cherish those memories.

One of our favourite places in all of the academy was the Joanna Lau Sullivan Chinese Garden. I didn’t know the specific name back in the day. Only that it was the place of calm and still where I would sit with my mother and stare at the small pool or watch the water pour calmly and steadily from the dragon’s mouth. 

Later, I would take solitary trips to the Academy on my way home from college classes to sit in the garden. And even later, we would bring my daughter so she could stare into the deep darkness of the pool and smell the water lilies. If my grace notes are beauty and harmony, then surely this garden is a grace note.

My Bella-girl ... not quite two, at the Chinese Garden in the Honolulu Academy of  Arts
This special place; this memory is tucked away in my mind where I treasure my most precious things. Like all the things that are grace notes from my mother.

Tuesday Grace Notes are an opportunity for me to share a small bit of harmony amidst the other things I write about. Truly, they are meant to be shorter than my usual pieces (laugh with me here), and just a little something to add a touch of beauty to my life and yours. One week it might be a wonderful book I’ve read and can’t put down. Maybe it will be one of the movies I love (or its soundtrack). You might find a favourite recipe here. Or the new soap I’ve just discovered. You’ll find that many of them are inspired by my mother and the things she taught me about living a gentle, elegant life. I hope you’ll join me as more things are shared.

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

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