KDOC meets with Temple Board

Members of the KDOC and the Temple Board look over the stairway railing and into the grotto at the March 31 meeting at the Daifukuji Soto TempleTurns out the grotto design was simply too enticing for its own good.

Members from the KDOC met with the Temple Board on March 31 to address questions or concerns surrounding the orchid grotto, which was brought under fire at the monthly meeting earlier in March.

However once all the issues were brought out into the open, the problem proved easy to solve. Dick made all of the necessary adjustments to the layout and design, but the biggest factor turned out to be explanation.

“Change will be happening all the time and we just have to adjust,” Dick said. “You try to anticipate everything, but inevitably things come up.”

The Temple’s biggest concern with the grotto came down to access – were people going to be crossing over into the garden, walking on the stepping stones?

Specifically, the problem’s epicenter was located where the stairs are at roughly the same height as the stepping stones, at the bottom of the Columbarium. Dick, Betty, Joyce, and other members of the KDOC assured the Temple Board that the grotto was not meant for public access, and that the stepping stones shouldn’t be mistaken as a regular throughway. The stepping stones are meant for maintenance, and as means to provide a more natural-looking three foot barrier/boundary from the Columbarium.

grotto-model-1As a compromise, it was decided that the final stepping stones could veer inwards towards the wall, away from the trafficked stairway, and a sign would be placed in front of the railing along the walkway. The sign will let everyone know what they are looking at – orchids – and why the orchids are there – the KDOC.

As it is, the grotto is not easily accessible from the steep steps running up the side, but this will make it perfectly clear. The KDOC board also stated that the access pathway along the north side of the Columbarium, was just that – for access – and the concrete steps leading down into the trench surrounding Kannon Hall were just another maintenance measure.

That seemed to put everyone’s mind at ease. In fact, the discussion also secured the KDOC new land in the garden.
There is an old pond at the bottom of the steps, just outside the door leading into Kannon Hall. It is on the opposite side of the grotto wall and buried in overgrown azeleas and .. , so it is not hard to miss if you have only been hanging out back in the grotto (I had never seen it), but it impossible to miss if you are walking in or out of the back door to Kannon Hall.

Currently just an empty and unused fishpond sits immediately outside the door, and the moss-covered concrete that used to make up its base leads right up to the narrow pathway, creating a somewhat dangerous drop for such a high traffic area.

Fortunately, one of the KDOC board members on hand was an expert in not only fish ponds, but fish pond hazards.
Carol has buried seven of the nine ponds she has tenured throughout her life, and had actually covered and dug up an eighth. Then an early morning swim sent her to the emergency room.

“Two years ago, I uncovered that eighth one and filled it up with water and fishes again,” Carol said. “I was feeding the fish one morning, when I lost my balance on the ledge and went in feet first … got soaking wet, nearly drowning because I also hit my head on the ledge.”

Instantly getting out of the water, Carol realized that she was bleeding from both her ankle and head. Thankfully, her husband was home and was able to rush her to the ER, where she was patched up for the better, aside from having a bone chip fracture on her ankle which sidelined her for three long months.

“I instantly became an invalid, on a walker, crutches, and then a boot,” Carol said. “But I did not want to cover my pond again … my husband said I am a ‘put on, take off’ person. So I am a lot more careful but accidents do happen. Lucky thing I have a neighbor that is always looking over my pond. I call him ‘coast guard’.”

Luckily for the KDOC too, since we now needed to fill up a pond.

The pond will be filled with lava rock, so it will in essence be a dry pond but still allow for good drainage. A lotus from Hakalau will ultimately be planted in a large pot in the center of the display. However, water lilies will likely be planted first, since it takes the lotus awhile to establish itself (and thus would not be ready for the orchid show).

There is giant, yet uniquely shaped, lava rock which currently sits in the middle of the pond. This strange rock looks like a face from some angles with very little stretch of the imagination, will likely be moved and used as part of the display.

Work on the orchid grotto was scheduled to resume April 6.

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