by Rebecca Harris, Katherine Fischer
Many students are unaware of the hidden jungle that lurks within WHS walls, begging for attention yet receiving nothing but the occasional curious glance. This jungle, known as the Japanese garden, is a serene courtyard that is populated by overgrown plants and trash.
The Japanese Garden is informally known as the “Zen Garden” for its tranquil interior. Much of the intrigue and mystery of the Japanese Garden lies in the fact that it was once an organized courtyard but has since become a mystical place only heard of in legend. But in the midst of all the chaos is a sense of serenity and inner peace.
It is the most secluded WHS courtyard; the only entrance is through a locked door and a dark, eerie hallway neighboring the computer lab.
Japanese gardens traditionally have many green plants and trees to ensure a peaceful environment. Although the one at WHS conforms to this style, it is not maintained, and therefore, it bears a close resemblance to a treacherous maze.
Within the stained walls that enclose this horticultural haven are ivy-covered trees and rock gardens. Taking a closer look, random pieces of litter can be found covered in dirt and grass.
Perhaps the Japanese Garden litter isn’t trash at all; it’s evidence of the untold stories of students venturing into this mysterious place. These brave souls left behind Snapple bottles, chewing tobacco and Ritz Bits wrappers bleached by the sun to mark their presence.
At one time, long ago in 2005, a student cleaned up the garden for his Eagle Scout project, according to Art Teacher Mr. Roy Chambers.
However, it has since been neglected, becoming a paradoxical marker of vegetation that is both green--and dead.
Most students have seen the Japanese Garden, but few have noticed it, even fewer know it by name. The only way to truly understand the enigmatic nature of the garden is to experience for oneself. As finals approach and stress is at its height, maybe we all need to step out into the garden for a brief moment of zen.