Old Tai-yu knew that his garden was neither large nor impressive by the standards of the wealthy during the Ching dynasty. It would have been spoken of as being only adequate.
But size and grandeur meant nothing to old Tai-yu. He knew his garden was of the highest quality and the best taste. These were the important things to him.
Tai-yu's family had been landlords for more years than anyone in the village could remember. Though the garden was not a reflection of old Tai-yu's wealth, it was of the man. It was his solace, his communion with nature and his soul.
Tai-yu was in the waning months of life. His doctors could not promise another year in the mortal world. The old man had no expectation of seeing more than another two seasons. It was now well into autumn. Whispering chill winds of approaching winter were already whirling falling dying and dead leaves around the garden in flight of the ultimate quarter.
But all that was of little concern to the old man.