The Voices of the Watershed

In an excerpt from her new book, Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, Wendy Johnson recalls a personal pilgrimage across the mountains of Northern California.

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Brush and ink paintings of Chinese landscapes show endless misty mountains molded by running water, or still lakes reflecting raggedly clouded peaks. These landscapes are never solid, never static. Always in motion, they move just below the rolling fog. The great thirteenth-century Zen master Eihei Dogen writes in his Mountains and Rivers Sutra that the green mountains are always walking and that they travel on water as well as across land. The mountains and rivers of this time and place are also never only what they seem to be.

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