Thursday, October 13, 2005


WHAT TO DO ON REALLY, REALLY RAINY DAYS


There's not all that much to love about really really rainy days unless you're a droughty farmer or rainmaker, but we're neither, yet we love rainy days, get lots of them and we're not ducks. One of the things we love about double-r rainy days is that they afford the ideal opportunity to visit one of the big temples around here that are at their very best in the wetness and light of rainfall, not least because there are far fewer rainy day visitors to venues that generally can be more of a massive sardine experience.

That's what we did on Saturday, when it was raining so hard that walking down the street was like spalshing through water, pants wet up to the knees. I'd just planted winter spinach on Wednesday, so I was happy on that account too (gardening gives you a lot of extra things to be happy about, which fact can also come in handy on double-r rainy days).

So we went over the mountain to visit historic Sanzen-in, the anciently renowned and moss-gardened temple in Ohara, just outside Kyoto. The fact that it was on a Saturday and the visitor count was about 20% of usual made the whole experience even more of a miracle.

Walking up to the temple in the rain that brings out all the green in the leaves and the many colors in the stone walls - with all the pathside shops and their wares glowing into the outer dimness - climbing the stone steps and entering the incense fragrance of the temple building where golden Buddhas glow in dim recesses, while out on the long veranda, where all the shutters are lifted, gleam the many shades of emerald that are the garden beyond the pond, the moss, pines and maples, the stones and stone lanterns, all hissing softly in the rain like a faraway chanting, all you can do is fall silent, be seated on the straw mats and meditate on living the link between beauty and sanctity.



The little Buddha I photographed in his secret place in the greater garden knows this too; his face says so.

5 comments:

Mary Lou said...

Wonderful Post there RB! I Love rainy rainy days. We are having a heck of a storm today, blew a tree down out back, and rain is pelting the front windows. I LOVE IT>

Robert Brady said...

I also love really really rainy days, they bring out the capitals in me, too...

Anna said...

That garden is delicious. Moss makes such satisfying rounded forms - I am about to try treating some large pebbles with this mixture to put beside my wild pond.

Tamar said...

Oh, what a darling Buddha. I collect statues of Buddha but this is most beautiful I have seen.

I realize that I will need to travel to Japan to see him before I die.

samcandide said...

This was lovely to read at 1 a.m. in a place so bright and relentlessly dry I have forgotten moss and very rainy days. Thank you for the reminder, and the little Ho-ti.