February 28, 2015

Photo Essay: A Sanctuary Among Sewage

[Last updated 2/25/23 11:15 PM PT—Video embed added to bottom of post]

I am one of those weird people who find tours of municipal facilities and other public works fascinating. (It turns out, I am not alone.)

But what really fascinated me about the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant was where its recycled water went after it was cleaned up.

That is, through a three-tiered waterfall, into the Japanese garden and man-made lake next door.

This "garden of water and fragrance" has all the elements of a traditional Japanese garden:

...water, rocks, and plants that have been preened and pruned to perfection.

There are also a variety of carved granite lanterns...

...and, of course, the best view of the Tillman Plant's Administration Building, which Trekkies know as Starfleet Academy and make pilgrimages to see.

If there's any question as to the safety of the treated water coming out of the plant, just look at the thriving flowers...

...the flocking birds (like great blue herons, pelicans and cormorants)...

...and the fish (including koi) swimming around in the water, eventually being eaten by the birds.

It is startlingly green there.

In the 1980s, it was a controversial idea to build an industrial facility so close to the LA River headwaters and a wildlife refuge... the plant's recycled resources were devoted to irrigating a beautiful, tranquil sanctuary...

...that would evoke the serenity of traditional Japanese strolling gardens...

...and the traditions of generations of Zen Buddhists...

...with a tea house...

...very few straight lines...

...and, of course, cherry blossoms.

It is said that a stroll through the Tillman Japanese Garden (particularly across the zig-zag bridge) can cleanse a person of any evil spirits.

It's undoubtedly an unusual opportunity for reflection and meditation, where weeping is left for the willows and the peach trees.

For more photos of our adventure, click here.

Update 2/25/23: Watch a short video I produced on the Japanese Garden for KCET's SoCal Wanderer, above.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The Final Frontier for LA's Wastewater
Photo Essay: Earth Day at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

No comments:

Post a Comment