Places of Beauty – Arai Pond

Arai Pond 02

It isn’t full of water yet, but it is an historic place of beauty. This weekend, water in the pond will bless all those who visit as part of the Annual Pilgrimage to Manzanar.

One of the good things that happened at Manzanar was that in the midst of hardship, some creative souls found it possible to construct places of beauty. One of those places was Arai Pond.  It was built by Mr. Arai in the middle of Block Number 33, the block just east of Pleasure Park (also known as Merritt Park…more about that later).

During the Annual Pilgrimage time in late April each year, the pond is filled with water.  A relative of Mr. Arai’s comes to the Pilgrimage and spends some considerable time sitting on a bench by the pond, sharing her memories of life as a child in the camp.  Unfortunately, I had to miss the Pilgrimage by just a couple of days. Next Spring, as I begin my trip to the WRA Camps in Arizona, Arkansas, and Colorado, I will stop again at Manzanar…this time to be there during the Pilgrimage.

Mr. Arai’s Pond is a spot of tranquility. I imagine that it offered a place where people could go to be transported spiritually out of Camp life, if only for a moment. One of Mr. Arai’s nieces works as a National Park Service volunteer each year during the Pilgrimage month of April. She has a smile and a countenance that reflect the creative spark and spiritual depth which led to the envisioning and building of Arai Pond.

Next year, as I begin the last leg of my journey, I’ll include a photo of Arai Pond filled with water, as well as photos of the Pilgrimage.

As I continue this part of my journey, walking through Manzanar, come along with me.  I hope my photos and reflections, and especially the commentary of people who lived there, will bring Manzanar to life for you.

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Grace and peace,

Art

2 Comments on “Places of Beauty – Arai Pond

  1. You are right about that, Chris! It is one of the things about Manzanar…awe inspiring beauty at the site of imprisonment…

    Like

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