In a remote area of the world, I cannot divulge its location, lies a Secret Garden:
It is so secret the name can only be written with letters that cannot be read. I tried to decipher the useless code, but to no avail. No matter, I knew I must enter to discover the unrevealed. And with that began the adventure to find the mystery of the Secret Garden.
Entry was quite easy. No guards were posted. It was as if I was even being invited inside to explore the wonders beyond. Was this a good idea? I was unsure, but compelled to enter:
Uneasy, yet aware of my surroundings, I drew closer:
The gateway appeared very ancient. The garden, thus far, less vibrant than I hoped lie on the other side of this entrance. Still unsure, I approached with caution. Upon entry I was entranced!:
Wow! I was mesmerized, hypnotized even, by the unimaginable beauty that lay before my eyes. I witnessed others equally captivated by the experience. Where was I ? What was the purpose? I continued on.....
The flowers seemed to almost speak to me. I examined a single one in search of a clue:
This lone beauty was more unique than the rest. I found myself drawn to it.
At this point I had come to a diversion in the path. I was unsure which direction may reveal the Secret of the Garden:
But, not unlike the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, a wind gently blew upon the mature bud, pointing the way to the east. I took it as a sign and followed its course.
Strange symbols marked my way. Was this the correct path choice? What had I stumbled upon? This omniscient looking structure looked both scary and foretelling of bad things that might come. But I had already traveled so far,
Was this, like the Wicked Witch of the West, warning me to turn back? "How about a little fire, scarecrow?", kept ringing through my brain. But it didn't matter now, my fate was before me, not behind,
I pushed further until I came to these pleasant looking benches. Weary, and wanting to rest my arthritic back, I took the opportunity to rest.
In quiet solitude I remained. The calming effects of the Secret Garden had soothed my thoughts, entrancing me. Now, sleepy, I dosed....
When I awoke I was startled by this strange entity I found sitting beside me:
Where did he come from? What was he? Why was he sitting so close to me? I mean, doesn't he acknowledge personal space?
He vaguely resembled the Tin Man from Oz, but he was made of wood. No funny hat either. Curious, I probed further.
I asked him, "What's your deal, my fine wooden friend?"
No response. In my head I almost expected to hear the mumbled words, "Oil can!". But no such words were heard.
With no explanation as to why this mysterious structure appeared, I moved on. At the same time the old Hank Williams song, "Kaliga" rang in my ears, "Kaliga, you poor old wooden head".
The colorful path had turned more muted now:
Was the Secret Garden changing before my eyes? The former beauty was fading, but still entrancing. I had no choice now, only forward lie my fate!
Now, the area began to resemble more of a jungle. The soothing nature of the flowers were behind me now, and only this lay ahead:
Oh no! Now my thoughts changed and all I could recite was, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!".
When suddenly my very thoughts manifested before my eyes!
Yikes! Now what do I do? I didn't bring any Lion food with me. Perhaps I was the meal? I hurried away further down the path before he could see me, but too late. The beast took notice,
He approached with a mighty growl. Frightened, yet resolute to find the Secret this Garden was hiding, I became emboldened. Without thinking I slapped the Lion in the face.
Well, I wish you could have seen his changed expression. Surprised and hurt, he tucked his tail between his legs and hurried back into the jungle.
Had I just encountered the cowardly Lion? No matter, I had little concern for him now. Only the Secret that lie ahead mattered. Nothing could stop me from my destination to find the answer to this mystery.
After awhile, I approached another field of flowers:
I had no choice. I must plow through this field to emerge the other side. I knew I was close now. I could feel the Secret was just on the other side.
With reckless abandon I found myself running. Through these glorious flowers I trampled. But, I began to slow, part way through I could barely move my legs. Tiredness overtook me. All I wanted was to sleep.
Was this the the equivalent of the poppy fields in Oz? Was this the deterrent to finding the secret?
I didn't care! I would not be denied! I opened my backpack, took two No-Dose tablets, ate 5 packets of instant coffee, and pushed through. I finally emerged to the other side.
And there it was. The hideous Secret this Garden fought to conceal. Much like Oz, I wished I had never looked behind this curtain. The mystery is always more appealing than the Secret itself.
I looked upon it with repulsion, yet I found I could not look away. There it was, in all its repugnant glory, the Secret to the Garden revealed. The Wizard with her bastard child:
Ok, I'll reveal the truths. All are my original photos. The Garden is actually the Garden of Morning Calm in South Korea. The wizard and wooden man from Nami Island in South Korea. The jungle shot was a photo from Erawan park in Thailand. The Lion was an actual photo I took at Kruger National Park in South Africa.