IT was just a breezeway, leading from businesses to parking spaces in the back. For one Eagle Rock tenant, Pilates instructor Mary-Ascension Saulnier, however, the flagstone pathway had to provide another kind of passage. Fours years ago she founded the Meditation Water Garden, an assemblage of 39 hand-painted wishing well fountains paired with affirmations from kabbala scholar Yehuda Berg's "The 72 Names of God."
Its roots may be spiritual, but the garden blooms with a dazzling sensuality, a collection of miniature shrines connected by vines, hanging baskets of pansies and impatiens, hummingbird feeders and wind chimes. Roses, fruit trees and fresh herbs scent the air in the spring. Statues of cherubs, Buddhas, pharaohs and kitschy animals and children are splashed in a slapdash rainbow.
Take a seat in one of six patio chairs and drink in the colors and shapes. When that thirst is slaked, close your eyes and even the sound of street traffic has a soothing vibration mixed into the symphony of burbling water, tinkling chimes and the whirl of hummingbird wings.
Saulnier created this folk art oasis as a way to illustrate a love story she has written and will share with visitors. "The Tin Goddess is a healing spirit, who does not believe she is beautiful. Rawpan is half-man, half-goat and does not know he is ugly." Each, she says, transforms the other. In much the same way, she has turned a neglected space into a place of wonder and repose.
-- David A. Keeps
Meditation Water Garden, 2120 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.