Suddenly it ended. To my surprise, I could not go further. The path just stopped. The hedges closed. There was a small place at the top of the stair. I turned around and sat down. There was nowhere to sit, except on the top step, and that is where I sat, looking down at the temple precinct, watching it, tired, happy to sit there, quiet, only the wind now instead of the sounds of temple business. As I sat there, a blue dragonfly came and landed on the step beside me. It stayed. And as it stayed I was filled with the most extraordinary sensation. I was suddenly certain that the people who had built that place had done all this deliberately. I felt certain -- no matter how peculiar or unlikely it sounds today, as I am telling it again -- that they had made that place, knowing that the blue dragonfly would come and sit by me. However it sounds now, at the time when it happened, while I sat down on that stair, there was no doubt in my mind at all that there was a level of skill in the people who had made this place that I had never experienced before. I remember shivering as I became aware of my own ignorance. I felt the existence of a level of skill and knowledge beyond anything I had ever come across before.
I sat there for two or three hours -- and then stayed in the temple all day long, filled, for the whole day, by my awe in the face of what these people had known, and by the beauty of the place. Most of all I was simply shocked by the certainty that the people who made this place had done it with a level of skill far beyond anything I had ever experienced--and that the grasses, the steps, the wind, the dragonfly, were all deliberately placed by their hands.
To this day, I have never again had such a shaft strike me. I have not seen again the possibility of such perfect human knowledge of nature...The sensation of nature waking up, and human beings helping to make it wake, was luminous, like a hum. I feel a heavy longing, remembering it, it was so vivid, so quiet, so perfect. Yet it changed my life to see it, and to walk through it.
- Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, Book One: The Phenomenon of Life, p. 436-37