The weekend before last, I had the honor and pleasure of staying two nights in the Guest House, in the center of the gardens. I did a lot of reading and writing, sitting and thinking; admiring the gardens; and soaking in the tub. Monday morning I woke up to a frosty wonderland, and took the above picture.


This poem is a piece of what I wrote during my stay. I hope you enjoy.


In the Guest House (pt 1)


To sleep and to wake

in an atmosphere

of such tranquility

and elegance,

simple and clean—


My bare feet adore

the feel

of the tatami

floors; golden

woven rush—


All of my senses

soak, and delight

in the wooden soaking tub—


To sleep and to wake

in an atmosphere

of reflection and repose

I think—

People are like plants—

we respond to our



Too much sun, a plant will die

Too little sun, a plant will wither

just the same

Just the right amount of sun, of water—

a plant will thrive;


We must recognize

that our environment

the built world, the landscape

the sum total of what we call


and what we call

“man-made” or “artificial”

In short, the space that surrounds us—

these three dimensions

we move through—

Our environment

is so vital

to our lives

to our beings

Of course, to our bodies

as we breathe, in, out

as we walk, run,

and move, (or not),

as we eat and drink—

But also of course

to our hearts

and minds;

our moods

and tendencies…


We could shape this world

in any way we want

any way imaginable

we have that power

So, look around—

is this how we want it?


—Matt Eighmy