Nuptials in Nature, Morikami Does it Well

Years ago, a friend of mine got married at the Morikami.

If you’ve ever been to a wedding, overlooking Morikami Pond, surrounded by nature’s decorations, you know how it is. It’s gorgeous, a little sweaty and totally unique. The birds are chirping quietly, the water is moving gently, the breeze is blowing slowly, as you watch your best friend connect with his/her love, hopefully for the rest of their lives.

There is definitely something magical about being married among nature.

Granted, it’s a little scary. Rain? Bugs? Noise? Allergies? Yep. Yep. Yep and Yep. All definite possibilities. The sun may be a bit too bright that day or the heat too oppressive, for sure. You worry about stuff like hairdos falling and grooms sweating out of their expensive tuxedos.

But when it all goes right (or when nothing big goes wrong, depending upon your point of view), absolutely nothing beats a wondrous sunset, the twinkling of the night sky, or a robin’s egg-blue sky with a lovely breeze swaying the bamboos just so. Because nature never repeats.

Every time, it’s  different, special, one of a kind. I’ve been to the Morikami so many times, but I will always remember Erin and Kevin’s wedding. She was beautiful. He was handsome. And the evening was perfect, as the Morikami gardens put on a special show.

This is the season for weddings. Despite the humidity, temperatures, flying skeeters and biting gnats, couples are still tying the knot at the Morikami Falls, Morikami Pond, on the bridge  or under the trees.  If you’re invited to a summer, Morikami wedding, wear cotton or linen, a simple up-do and light makeup — then consider yourself lucky.

Because then you’ll know how it is. Just amazing.

A wedding at the Morikami, nothing like it

So unique, so natural, so Morikami

Posing on Morikami's bridge...

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Creating 10,000 Turtles

With a few folds of colored paper, supporters of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens will find out that it is not that hard at all to make an origami turtle, while at the same time supporting the museum’s children’s programs.

This Saturday, the Morikami will kick-off its new “10,000 Turtles” initiative with a taiko drumming performance by Fushu Daiko as part of Asian Heritage Night at Roger Dean Stadium. For a suggestion donation of $1, a family can purchase the materials and instructions for creating an origami turtle.

Kids will be invited to fold 10,000 origami turtles – a symbol of longevity in Japanese culture – for a special art display in the Morikami Museum.   The money raised will help keep the Morikami’s children’s programs going.

Visitors will be able to make their turtle at the Morikami all summer long or purchase and download the materials via the website (www.morikami.org), and mail in the $1 donation and origami animal. The program will continue through September 30, 2010.

“Thanks to the support of lead sponsor Charles James Real Estate, we will be taking this hands-on, kid-focused campaign to the campers and visiting families who love the Morikami,” said Amy Hever, director of advancement.  “During the summer, the campers who participate in MORY (More Opportunities to Reach Youth) will also have an opportunity to make their turtle.”

“In essence, we are creating a way for kids to enjoy all that the Morikami has to offer them.”

The “10,000 Turtles” project will be in the lobby of the Morikami through September 30. Let’s get ready to fold!

All Different Ways to Love the Morikami

There is a wall in the museum lobby that is adorned with names of people who are no longer with us. They share the common thread of loving the Morikami while they were alive.

One of those people, Rod Urhausen, had his name added recently to the shiny plaques on the wall, courtesy of his parents, Roy and Ruth Urhausen of West Palm Beach. The Urhausens gave a gift in memoriam for Rod, their only son, who died of brain and stomach cancer in 2004 at the age of 52.

Born into a musical family, Rod, a musical arranger, vocal coach, show producer and song writer, had spent some time in Japan, writing a script for play, before moving to New Jersey and New York. After a painful fight, he passed away, and his parents threw his ashes into the Pacific Ocean together.

But their remembrance of him continued with his name adorning a venue he adored.

“Rod visited us, but he never moved here. He did a lot of work in New York. We took him to the Morikami several times, an average of every other month. He loved to meditate there,” said his father.

Loving parents, they described Rod as a person everyone liked. He was good with children, a great teacher, a kind soul, a real talent, a well-mannered child with big, blue eyes and blond hair. Roy remembered a friend saying about Rod, “if you knock them out like that, you should have a dozen.”

But Roy and Ruth didn’t have a dozen. They didn’t have three or two. Just the one. And they loved him so, and he loved the Morikami.

When people walk into the lobby, for a moment, they should know that there are names on a wall. Names of people who saw what they see, heard what they hear and touched what they touch, and they thought so much of it, they became a part of it.

Rod Urhausen was one of those people, and we’re glad he’s a part of what makes the Morikami so special.

The Urhausen family together, Rod, Ruth and Roy

Reason #312 Why I Love the Morikami…Cherry Blossoms

OK, I might be hard pressed to come up with the first 311 reasons why I adore the Morikami, but the sentiment remains … the quirky, cultural, natural nature of this place never fails to impress me.

Reason #312: Where else in south Florida would you find small, delicate trees abloom with small, delicate cherry blossoms?

After a recent, cold snap here that left us all much more appreciative of our normal temperatures, a small group of trees that had been planted as an experiment in the gardens began to color with pink and white cherry blossoms. The winter temperatures compelled them to bloom for the first time in a long while. Short-lived, the temporary phenomenon was captured by local newspapers and photographers.

According to the marketing team,  some visitors who were compelled by the news coverage to visit were a bit disappointed by how small the 5-foot cherry trees were in actuality. But the loveliness and rarity of the flowers outside of their native Japan couldn’t be denied.

After working with and for the Morikami crew for almost 10 years, I really do enjoy the unusual, funny, and completely unique stories that come out of this museum. Memories that linger are the exhibits that featured the varied photographic views of Mt. Fuji in all its majesty and the personal accessories of a real-life geisha; enjoying a banana and cream cheese-filled eggroll (yes, eggroll) topped with whipped cream and raspberry sauce; beating a taiko drum and realizing what sweaty work it is; and seeing how excited a two-year-old can get tossing a fat koi more food than it really needs in a day.

I guess those are reasons #214, #45; #12 and #133!

Missed the cherry blossoms? Here’s the link to the Palm Beach Post/Sun-Sentinel article — Cherry Blossoms!

Cherry Blossoms bloom at the Morikami after a recent cold snap.