The Bridge

In a garden where all the swans are black and the flowers murmur the names of long-ago lovers, there is a bridge.  It is wrought from alabaster and jasper and ageless gold, and if you look closely, you can see that the five sacred animals have been carved into each side.

The bridge spans a pond bright with carp and the occasional oracle turtle.  It is not difficult to walk around the pond if you are of a mind to meditate on frog-song and reed-dance.  You can cross it by yourself and pause partway up to contemplate your reflection’s smile.

But it is only if you cross the bridge hand in hand with another that its true property becomes apparent, for it is then that you can look into the pond and see all the gardens you have passed through together.  Not all of them look like gardens in the human world, but then humans are very good at building gardens without realizing they are doing so.