Tea Garden in Ruins – Magic Touches Visitor
Although I live in the Gorge Waterway neighbourhood, it had been many years since I had walked over the bridge to the other side to visit the Gorge Kinsmen Park. In the early 1990’s, I visited the Tea Gardens many times, finding solace during some difficult days siting on a bench in the terraced ruins. One day, as I sat in contemplation I wondered what this place was. Nearby to where I was sitting I admired the most beautiful single flower growing alone and abandoned in an unkept bed. Feeling kindred with the flower I timidly picked and preserved it as I had never seen anything like it. Although I was unaware of the rich history that this site held, I could sense that it was a very special place. It felt safe to sit in the quiet protection of the garden walls warmed by the sun’s energy. No signs or postings existed interpreting its significance or importance, so I closed my eyes and imagined a beautiful garden.
Many years would pass before I would visit the gardens again. Over the past several weeks I have visited the gardens several times to connect with the ‘Takata Tea Gardens’ history. I was amazed at the transformation and beauty that lay before me. This magical place was alive with lush, cultivated plants and water falls, continuing to evoke a sense of tranquility, peace and love for the visitors, the people of Esquimalt and the Takata family. A bench in remembrance of Toyo Takata was built in the park. After several visits I am still trying to locate it.
I have never forgotten my early visits to the gardens and today still have the Chocolate Lily I picked that day preserved in a box. I find it quite ironic that I would come back to this place to find that my purpose here was more profound than I ever imagined all those years ago.