Passport Series: Origami in the Garden

By Ayumi Cullen P’25, Passport Series Co-Chair

The last Parents Association Passport Series event of the year took place on May 21 at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT) and was the first in-person event of the 2020-2021 school year!

Passport Series Co-Chair Ashley Cook P’25 and I acknowledged and thanked all the wonderful parent volunteers and presenters who helped with the various events we had this school year. For their volunteer service, we gifted each of them a copy of International Cookbook – Around the World in 80 Dishes, a fitting gift for this international education series!

Our last event was a combined visit to the Origami in the Garden exhibit at MOBOT and a poetry-sharing event focused on Japanese poetry. We discussed how poems in Japan were influenced by traditional Chinese poetry and were written and appreciated chiefly by noble and educated people. Haiku, a popular form of Japanese poetry, contains 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, and traditionally evokes images of the natural world.

The Japanese are known for appreciating the beauty in each season, seeking out the peak cherry blossom blooms in the finest destinations, and traveling over Japan’s small island to find a breathtaking mountain or ocean view. Matsuo Bashō, who enriched the haiku form of poetry and is one of the most famous haiku poets to this day, traveled and wrote several haiku poems while appreciating what each place he visited had to offer. Like Bashō, everyone who attended this Passport event was asked to think of their own haiku poem.

Here are a few poems that I shared with the attendees:

“Our last Passport event
Friends gather in the Garden
Blossom full of hopes”

“Oh flowers galore
At Botanical Garden
How I missed you all!”

“Petals float away
A long time away from home
Longing to visit”

“Peonies show such hopes
Blossoms with power and grace
Dream big, little ones!”

“In challenging times
Count your blessings not problems
Be the light you must”

Below is a poem Savita Tiwari P’23 shared about the origami sculptures:

“The Silent Metamorphosis”

“A beautiful creation,
In a magnificent way
Quietly, so unnoticed.”

We all enjoyed the beautiful summer-like weather at MOBOT, and the Origami in the Garden exhibit was enthralling to view and learn how the large origami structures were constructed. We highly recommend you check out the virtual tour videos on MOBOT’s Facebook page before visiting the exhibit.

Ashley and I were very excited to have been able to have this final Passport Series event in person to finish off the school year strong and healthy. The Missouri Botanical Garden does not require fully vaccinated people to wear masks per CDC guidelines, so most of us enjoyed visiting each other without wearing masks.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in at our Passport Series events in the fall!