Sketch | Heron at Ritsurin Park | Takamatsu, Japan | May 18, 2016 | 7:31AM

In this current age, we are inundated with:

  • Fleeting images with no credits to the authors
  • Cut-and-paste plagarism
  • Sound bites that leave us with the wrong conclusions
  • Stream-of-conscious tweets limited to 144 characters
  • Click-bait headlines with shallow stories designed to keep us long enough to increase the metrics for advertising
  • Distortions and lies masquerading as vetted news

Our attention spans are being lobotomized.

In 2016 Lea and I made a memorable 6-week journey to Japan. Lea was participating in a sponsored textile tour and I was fortunate to go along for the ride. I was the only male amongst 25+ women. At the beginning and end of the trip, we added additional days to explore Japan on our own. On one visit to Takamatsu we spent a lovely morning walking in the Ritsurin Park. This garden included a circular walk through a variety of beautifully created “views” that framed natural vistas close-up and distant. Besides the aesthetic qualities of the landscaping, what struck me was how my mind slowed down. I could literally feel my pulse slowing; my brain coming to rest; my attention focused on what was there—not where I was going or where I had been.

I wondered at the time how this was possible. Lea and I have walked in dozens of parks in many countries. I don’t ever recall be transported in this way. Maybe it was a state-of-mind resulting from nearly 4 weeks of travel in Japan. In any case, as I write this blog post, I can conjure up the feeling and suspension. It is good feeling for these trouble times. This sensation was repeated in other visits to Japan’s beautiful parks.

For me, being in Japan was a profound experience that created a deep desire to return. While a return visit will likely not be soon, we will have in Portland the Japanese Garden in Washington Park. It is only about a 20 minute walk from our new home. We look forward to discovering moments like those experienced in Japan on a daily basis. Maybe then I can extend my watching and thinking time and jettison some of the negative influences of the on-line world. We shall see.

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