Wednesday, April 30, 2008


As I was going upstairs this afternoon I released one of the Olympian belches in which I take understandable pride, the reverberatory qualities of the staircase giving the emission a power that surprised even me, and plunging me back in time to the life-changing moment during my college days - the Spring of ’65, I think it was – when I first encountered a fellow student I came to greatly admire, the guy who inspired me to take on the lifelong challenge that is The Way of the Belch.

I never spoke to him directly, since my ears were always ringing when I saw him, but like anyone else who ever spent any time in his vicinity I must have asked someone Who is that guy, because I seem to recall that his first name might have been Paul; in any case, his skill far outshone whatever mere human appellation it was that failed to capture the reality. I’m sure many others from those university days remember the fellow; his presence, when he imposed it, was impossible to ignore.

My first and unforgettable experience of his vicinity was in the jam-packed Washington Tavern late on a Friday afternoon, when the uproar of intense student conversation was suddenly rendered churchlike by a sound that resembled an F-14 taking off with afterburners, just a short distance away. Whoever had emitted it must be writhing on the floor with internal injuries.

Ears ringing, I turned in reflex toward the source of the awesomeness, and beheld an unassuming guy standing there with a bland look on his face and a just-emptied glass of draft beer in his hand. He was a tall, slim, pale, unassuming type of fellow, light brown hair cut short, plain half-sleeved shirt and chinos, geeky glasses, probably a business major, I wouldn’t even recognize him in the yearbook today; his skill was so overwhelming it seemed to erase physical particulars, or at least way minimize their importance.

On several occasions over the next few years I would be at a raucous party when, from somewhere in the deafening crowd came a deep, wide and rumbling, earsplitting eructation that brought the whole place to a standstill, jaws dropping in awe at what their owners had just heard, the ensuing silence slowly filling with Who is that guys. As time will have it, one day I graduated, and I have never heard the like since.

Deeply inspired by those thunderous experiences, over the years I have sought to approach that sonic summit. I haven’t done too badly at it, if I do say so myself; indeed, in the occasional delusion that time affords I’ve often even dared surmise that I might have equaled the master himself on one or two occasions. But if the truth be known, despite valiant effort I have never brought even a small noisy room to a standstill, let alone the entire Washington Tavern on a Friday afternoon during school year or its equivalent. That accolade still belongs for all eternity to Paul, if that’s his name, wherever he is and whatever he’s doing for a living now, with whichever distant secondary skill he’s fallen back on. I can’t imagine he ever stayed silent, though, given the magnitude of his mastery; he’s likely brought quite a few board meetings to a standstill.

Funny, the memories that can roar out of the silence on a Spring afternoon almost half a century later.

Monday, April 28, 2008

He means so much,
little bird singing
in the morning sun

Sunday, April 27, 2008


As hinted at in various of these eclectic chronicles, the experiences of a freelance editor attempting to live in simple modernity out in the Japanese countryside can be surreal when the simple and modern converge head-on (in my head) at times such as today, when, after splitting a stack of firewood in the cool of the morning I came into the house to have at the waiting stack of pages and had to get at the grain of the suggestion that monocular diplopia arises from secondary astigmatism in combination with spherical aberration, whereas monocular triplopia arises from trefoil in combination with spherical aberration.

As the two experiences blend organically in said head, at some deeper level that I have no time to fathom at the moment I surmise that both diplopia and triplopia have much in common with cherry bark and the grain of oak. I’ll get out my mental wedge later and see if this mindwood will split and dry, make a viable flame.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

From the Archives: April 6, 2002


Coming back from the local country dentist (who is a very good dentist by the way, and cares much about his patients as individuals, unlike the high-turnover blurry dentists in the assembly line at the big clinic way up in a high building in the heart of the city), I decided not to take the main and faster highway back home, but to meander a bit in search of the kind of moments one can only come upon in mid-meander, and so took the narrow winding road along the Lake.

I would thereby also get to see the old thatched-roof cottage again, where the beauty of its aged wood and the stone path to the door were discreetly revealed by elegant bamboo fences and the gracefully sloping arms of ancient red pines, and I could feel that old spirit, one of those last embers of the old Japan, like sitting close to a fading loved one, moving closer to a dying fire.

It was a beauty of a day, more like spring than early February, the Lake on my left meandering too (large bodies of water pretty much do as they wish), along the very road, elbowing in where it could its sapphire beauty. I tended to go slowly, it's impossible to meander at high speed, and anything more than an amble is a waste of meander. So I often had to pull over to allow passage of folks bizarrely in a hurry on a slow road, likely in haste as well to get through life itself.

Then I was at the turnoff for home, and hadn't seen the old cottage, so I turned around and went back. In its discreetness, the shy place sometimes evades the seeker with the mildest distraction. I looked carefully, but still couldn't find it; then I found that where it had been was now a pile of dirt and rock and torn-up moss with a caterpillar tractor beside it, all surrounded by a temporary fence.

The centuries-old red pines were gone, the moss-bordered stone pathway was gone, the thatched roof was gone, the old house was gone. I felt my throat close up, it was very like a death I was feeling, that I would never see that old house again and wonder at its history and be inspired, or admire the beauty of its building, sense the strength of its long long time right there before me now.

Likely there would be a quick new factory-made lakeside cottage going up there soon, take a couple of weeks to build, model B perhaps, maybe model D. Thus do souls starve and die, in worlds without spirit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


As Sisyphus would tell you, if he weren’t busy at the moment, wrestling with a rock is unlike any other activity. First of all, right up front, rocks are the most conservative entities in existence. Resistant to change of any kind, they hate to move, they are monumentally stubborn (granite, adamant etc.) and they are way more familiar with forever than we are.

As I live on a mountainside, ever since I got it into an opaque part of my mind to straighten a protrusion in the stone wall out front (thereby widening our driveway by a meter or so and easing the qualms of Echo whenever she has to back the car in), I have acquired a new sympathy for and kinship with the guy who metaphorizes the hopeless task, having now myself sought to move a giant rock on a mountainside without the aid of any power other than my own muscle, simple leverage of all kinds and my expanding array of international imprecations. But no TNT or power shovels, so the Big Sis and I are still in the same ballpark.

We mythoguys have this funny characteristic: we tackle life's series of rock-moving type jobs all powered up with internal bluster, confident in our ability to get a simple brute-force, all-muscle task done before lunch, the same characteristic that got the Big Sis to where he is today, somewhere on that slope up there. It's a powerful quality, until it leaves the rails. Thus it was that from the toolshed I selected the little handpick and the big prybar, that should do it, and went off to address the pushover.

I’ve never seen a handpick look so toylike so fast, or a heavy duty prybar bend that much. Turned out that the rock, which I've discovered is a member of the Stonehenge family, was no mere surface presence. Apart from its granitic heft, it had an iceberg quality in that so much more of it was underground than above. I had to dig to find out just how far toward New York it went.

Three noons later I'm Sisyphizing out here atop Gibraltar, surrounded by prybar, wooden timbers, a steel beam, two saws, rope, chain, the car jack, a shovel, a full-sized pick, a scythe, another empty water bottle, piles of dirt and rocks and even the comically tiny handpick way over there where I threw it, wiping away sweat, wringing out the towel and admiring the hole I’ve dug beside this distant cousin of the Washington Monument. Before too long after my nap, I’ll be able to topple this baby, maybe as much as a centimeter.

I'll get the pyramids done tomorrow, before lunch.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This morning after I had motorcycled down to the station I was putting the lock on the rear wheel when I noticed a frog on the rear carrier, where he stood staunchly facing the rear, bulgy eyes blinking rapidly and looking as though he had just swallowed a lifetime.

No wonder-- he’d come all the way down the mountain with me. He’d been up there living his hoppy morning life, enjoying the peaceful blue of a clear dawn from a splendid chrome promontory in froggy solitude, when everything at once began roaring and bouncing around-- then the whole world took off, and he hadn’t even lifted a leg.

Turning toward the rear so as to streamline the wind, it was the first time he’d ever traveled backward, the first time he’d ever stood in place and seen his entire environment moving away from him, the whole mountain (there are mountains!) slip away behind him (there is a past!) into the sky as we descended. The radical effects of these phenomenal changes on the corpus of frog thought are simply unfathomable.

What we can say, with a good deal of certainty, is that the green pioneer was the first of his generation to travel at 40 mph, the first to get to the bottom of the mountain, the first to travel a highway, survey a parking lot, and countless other achievements as yet unrecorded in amphibian archives. No wonder he was standing so staunchly, blinking so hard. Frogically speaking, it must’ve been like getting a Nobel, a Pulitzer and an Oscar all at once.

Now that he’s all puffed up at having joined the ranks of the intrepid, he probably won’t be there this evening, but if he is, I’ll double his achievements by giving him a ride back to whence he first set out, where he can spend the rest of his life as a green Marco Polo. No one will believe him, either.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I've decided to use the top of the sidebar to go back in age-time, a la Ronni Bennett, so I'm posting/interpolating chronologically retro photos of yours truly as and when I have time to dig them out of the photo archives scattered here and there in my eclectic environment...

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Many near-pensioners and youngers in the US are thinking of moving abroad to where they can live well on less income (e. g., shrinking pensions) while paying no (or minimal) US taxes. Here is some invaluable advice for those folks:

"Buying and even shopping for real estate in another country takes nerve. The rules of engagement are completely different than back home. To be successful, you’ve got to arm yourself well in advance with an understanding of how this game is played.

The first thing to know is that the real estate agent is not your friend.

I’ve worked with real estate agents in dozens of countries. They are all friendly guys, and most are good company. I even keep in regular contact with some and value those relationships. But none of those things changes the fundamental truth about real estate agents in developing, unregulated markets: They’re wolves.

Stepping into a real estate agent’s office in these countries, you’re stepping into the wolf’s den. Believe me when I tell you that, when it comes to business (that is, the purchase of real estate), the agent you’re working with is not working for you. Buyers' agents don’t exist outside of North America. In many of the markets I recommend, real estate agents aren’t regulated or even licensed. The guy showing you around could have been a travel agent in Iowa three months ago.

Furthermore, not only are these guys not working for you...but they’re not working for the seller, either. They are working for themselves, and their goal is to extract as much commission out of you as they can. Understand that going into the conversation, and you stand a much better chance of coming out of it uncheated.

Here are some other tips to help your search go smoothly:"

From long experience, I can vouch for the truth of this advice. Invaluable for the now or future international resident, or traveler, from the excellent resource International Living.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bright sadness
laces the morning air -
cherry petal journeys

Friday, April 18, 2008





I Sing the Body Eclectic
as posted earlier on Where Elders Blog

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Yesterday was one of those splendid spring days, as I noted wistfully, peeping at the merest slit of it through the blinds in the office, thinking "this is typical office weather" and wishing I were at home to enjoy the beauty of blue sky, warm sun, balmy breeze, the fragrance of the actual earth...

Then this morning on a day I was spending at home it was cloudy and threatening to rain and I thought: "typical at-home weather, this kind of weather is office weather, seems it always happens this way, why couldn’t today have been yesterday?"

But then, my mind plunging offroad on its own as it is sometimes wont to do when I let go of the reins, I remembered last Thursday when I had to go to the office it was raining torrents, and I’d thought: "Boy, I’d sure rather stay home today, curl up with a good book and listen to the rain." Of course, the nickel rarely drops at such times, even though it’s one of the biggest nickels ever minted: the fact that it isn’t the weather I’m complaining about, it’s the office.

For the truth is that, rain or shine, I’d rather be at home than in an office, because as the increasingly looming presence of the huge nickel indicates, humans were not meant to be in offices: they were not meant to sit in, work in, anything in, offices; they were designed, physically, mentally and spiritually, to be out in the world beyond windows and blinds. All other behavior is acquired, including the inability to reflexively drop the big nickel.

A love for Structured Investment Vehicles, for example, is not inborn, as is, say, the desire to sit under a leafy tree in a flowering meadow and let one’s thoughts run free, preferably napward. Practical complaints about the weather have always been with us, from the time we stared out of caves at the rain all the way until we invented the plow and beyond, but it wasn’t until modern times that we were pavloved into big-nickel retention.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


No, not that born again; this born again is considerably less virtual, though I’ve never been a big fan of virtuality anyway. The fact of the matter is, I’ve been attempting to leave First Life to enter Second Life where I can visit my brother Mick, who as a virtual big wheel spends a lot of time there.

I wasn’t looking forward to learning to walk again, but it couldn’t be harder than the first time. Anyway, I’d checked out Second Life a long time before out of curiosity, joined, downloaded, named my avatar and so forth, but fact was I always rathered spend my time in First Life, which was no surprise; somehow I was born with a preference for actuality. Who can explain such things, maybe it’s virtually genetic.

But then a month or so ago Mick, who flies around SL all the time and has a garageful of avatars, gave me an invite to see the island they were building in there, and the gallery he and others were constructing, as related on the collective blog Post Riders in the Sky. The virtual fotos Mick sent looked pretty impressive, so I girded my actual loins to set forth once more into the pixelian ether and meet Mick there; clicked on the SL logo and was told my software was outdated.

I’m already familiar with outdated existential hardware, i.e., my First-Life avatar, but outdated existential software was new to me. Something like being a Manichaean, perhaps. So I downloaded the new software, which took so much time I left the computer running and went outside to split some firewood. No winter warmth in virtual flames, is there. Then I experienced actual hunger, followed by other editing work to do on the computer. Are there deadlines in Second Life?

A week or so later I had an hour or so to spare and went in again, this time descending from the heaven of here and now into a remodeled newbie circle where I was advised to finalize my avatar. Like I do this all the time. As I was trying back and forth to get my face right - a new problem - and then the hair (the haute couture would come later), I was distracted by events involving a female avatar from England who descended not long after me and was already walking pretty well but was being heavily hassled by a huge white racoon with brown rings, avatar of a guy who I guess spends a lot of his SL time at the newbie port trying to pick up avatar chicks, apparently to no avail. The uncool beast was typing his come-ons furiously at the v-lady while she was busy trying on new hair, he following her around like it was the last minute of happy hour, till at last she brushed him off with a toss of new hair and loped away through the SL portals, leaving him standing there typing insults that hung in the air like fat disappointments. I was still oddfaced, bald and dressed in black. Another timechunk shot.

Work to do in actuality, where yesterday, an actual-task-filled week later (office, freelance, firewood, garden, landscaping etc.) I entered SL again, having in the meanwhile pondered my moves, but they’d changed the visual layout once more. I was instructed to walk, which I did pretty well, to the appointed spot where I was told to pick up my torch, though there wasn’t a torch in sight. Just pick it up, just brush your hand over it the dead menu kept saying, but there was no torch. The instructional format reminded me strongly of Japanese traffic signage, which says things like “Turn left here for Highway #X,” with an oddly implicit (haragei?) “not HERE, the NEXT street”… too late, you’re on the expressway to China. Guidance meant for locals, who don’t need it.

Meanwhile a guy avatar had just descended from Germany and was bouncing around beside me saying “I don’t get it, do you get it? How do you do this? I can’t do this!” but I couldn’t write yet, and anyway had no answers, I could hardly walk. I was trying to focus on picking up a torch that wasn’t there, or maybe turn my shirt red. Anything.

Then a female avatar descended from Sweden right in front of me and within 30 seconds had a torch in her hand. I didn’t see how she did it, it was suddenly just there and she was waving it around like she was the inyerface statue of liberty or something; I have to say I was virtually peeved. Are the instructions clearer in Swedish? The German guy was still jumping around asking questions. I got my shirt 10% red but it wouldn’t get any redder, like so many shirts in my life, so I gave up on that and the hair and face, who cares anyway what I virtually look like, I can’t do much about it in First Life either, though at least I have a completely red shirt here.

To be continued at some point--

Monday, April 14, 2008


Some photos from our recent visit to Ishiyama-dera, one of our favorite local places, posted on before...

Friday, April 11, 2008


"What people don’t get is that it’s not really a patch and it’s not really an island, both of which you might be able to contain and control. No, what we found is much worse. It’s like a gigantic toxic stew..."

---Searching out the Pacific Ocean's mythical floating trash heap.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I don’t mean the blossoms and butterflies, birdsong and frog choruses, blue skies with hawks in love and whatnot, they’re all great don’t get me wrong, but there’s the rocks to be moved out in front from around the Heavenly Bamboo etc. for that edging thing we’re gonna do, the forsythia has to be moved back too, then there’s the huge jinchoge bush that because the heavy snows from the roof (who can foresee everything?) bent it over so much is overgrowing straight into the driveway and has to be cut back as soon as its done blossoming, then dug out and transplanted up behind the stone wall where it can knock itself out with blossoms all over the place, be my guest, and of course all the edging stones out back that have to be moved for the big garden re-do we’re planning, in re which the shiitake logs have to be restacked out of the way, wherever that might be, there’s some pondering to be done there sometime, same for the leftover firewood, in which connection I also have to asap split the plane tree sections we scavenged so they can maybe dry enough over the summer, then there’s the rain gutter plan, the deck to be painted, and-- but the accursedly soft caresses of this vicious and intractable Spring Fever that has me in its marshmallow grip-- it’s incurable I know, as a victim of all the past Springs - decades of them stacked up - I have to accept it, nothing can be done, I simply have to live through it, wait it out as always, helplessly sipping a medicinal beer out in the afternoon sun on the deck like this, whence I view these pending labors much as Hercules must have scoped the stables etc. in his day, only I’m breathing the perfume of jinchoge and plum blossoms and cursing my laggard fate, staring now and then at the lake, filling the distances all around with random eyesight and forgetting whatever all that stuff I just wrote about was. The sudden absence of recollection brings welcome relief.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

-- From my large collection, found during editing over the decades--
More to be posted from time to time...

"1. For typing specifications refer to 2. below.
2. No typing necessary."

"If we are to maintain world peace, we must spend more time teaching our children the horrors of war in schools."

"Participants reconfirmed their commitment to the promotion and renewed their hope to win the gold, silver or bonzo prize."

"How long has it been since a recent event?"

"There are vegetables that are related to Japan."

"If the answer is no, give the year you expect to become necessary."

"The symbolic spaces and straight lines added in later days form a kind of passage, at the end of which there is nothing like a sculpture."

"The Federation passes a resolution requesting interpretation to enable the social functioning of people whose auditory sense or speech is impaired every year at its national meeting."

"Check connected joints for leakage using soapy water or else."

"In this ride, passengers can experience totally reverse movements in a round trip while screaming."

Monday, April 07, 2008


Happy Birthday, Ronni!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Darkness: when at last
the hawks can't see
comes frogsong


I was driving Echo down to the train station a couple of mornings ago when I rounded a bend in the road and saw one adult monkey sitting in the middle of the way and was surprised, since I had for some time been reveling in the broad delights of monkeylessness.

I was even more surprised when the redfaced roadhog didn’t do what monkeys generally do in such a situation, i.e. beeline asap for the immediate roadside; instead he did what action movie characters on foot being chased by cars always do for the convenience of the action director - even though the audience sees through it immediately every time - the otherwise savvy action star runs straight away from the car when all he has to do is zip right to the roadside and be free, thence into an alley and forget about it, but no: he runs straight down the street at 10mph away from a car going 80mph! Well, this ape must have seen a few action movies, 'cause that’s what he did, very unapelike, against every instinct: he loped off straight down the road, for a long way. And I, an experienced action audience member, in my conviction that this was a mere ape, was none the wiser.

A little sidestep here to touch briefly upon a relevant but much-ignored aspect of our human heritage: along with sapience, morality, conscience and all that other stuff in the attic, living area and basement that makes us ‘superior’ to simians, we inherited a characteristic that, although not often noted as the severe handicap it is, may perhaps be our greatest flaw: the ability to be complacent. Just look around you. Monkeys, in contrast, like all wild creatures, are utterly free of complacency. You have to be sapient to plumb the furthest reaches of ignorance.

Well-- as to that, you see before you the current king of complacency, because I fully believed , and acted upon, what I merely thought! Can anything in retrospect be more ridiculous? (We won’t go into the elections right now, this is neither the time nor the place.) Yes, in the comfortably abject faith that is so easily induced by protracted monkeylessness I had fallen into the habit of harvesting my shiitake as I needed them, letting the small and midsized ones grow a little larger for later etc. Indeed, that very morning I had walked by the lushly sprouting logs and mentally selected the mushrooms I would take at noon for my lunch.

When I got back from the station about 15 minutes after the monkey sighting, I went out to harvest said mushrooms and found that despite the ongoing monkeylessness I had been so sure of, the logs had been tossed by a large party of hairy marauders and every single mushroom was gone. No sign of apefulness around, though, excepting the one in the roadway-- which, now that I gave it some thought amidst the plasma of fungal absence, explained the simian-action-hero car escape nonsense: he was leading me away, as he thought it, while his companions pillaged my fungi!

So it seems that monkeys are getting smarter at a steady pace, which means that soon they’ll be complacent! I’ll be ready for that day. But no matter what, I’ll never run straight away from a monkey at the wheel.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Now and then, like a butterfly on Mt. Everest, I've touched briefly on this subject in these crude musings, but I've never been quite able to fully grasp, any more than the butterfly the mountain, the fact that so much of Japan's taste delight is a matter of form.

In the West, form plays an important role in gourmet and lesser categories of dining - at this point I cannot help but visualize a forthright wedge of cherry pie with a stalwart scoop of Rocky Road by its side - but beneath the swirls of foody sauce and herbs and whatnot there is a rainbow, a bright rainbow, of flavor and savor is there not, a scrumptiousness, a lusciousness, an exquisiteness that begets deep ooohs and ahhhhs and mmmmms, so the merely visual aspect of Western food (consisting of something like "Boy, does that hot dog look good!") is ballpark maybe 10-15% of the overall experience wouldn't you say? Sorry to ask while your mouth is full...

Anyway, in Japanese cuisine it seems to me that the visual/taste ratio must at times be as much as 70-80%... Subtlety is the thing here, such subtlety as to at first be often indiscernible by the alien tongue, as for example when the newbie first tastes udon, or is dining with natives who are ecstasizing over the deliciousness of the plain white rice they're eagerly devouring, when to the newbie plain white rice has even less taste than white bread, though slightly more taste than air. Most Japanese simply LOVE white rice and cannot live without it. No matter how long I live here, though, I will never love white rice. I find it a pleasant, often essential accompaniment to a Japanese meal, but an accompaniment, not the star feature, nowhere near food hollywood.

This is all purely cultural of course, and as close as I'll ever get to straddling the gap where I had hoped there would one day be a bridge, but I just can't get my mind around the fact that, for example, someone in the office returns from a vacation trip to a locale famed for its, say, pagoda, and for family and office workers brings back treats in the shape of a -- pagoda, formed of rice or wheat flour baked in a mold and filled with white or brown sweet bean paste about the consistency of soft chalk, and everyone oohs and ahhs over the deliciousness of it, every time. True, it is tasty, mostly with curiosity, the first time or even the first two times...

Then another colleague comes back from a trip to another place, this one famed for its lanterns, or its birds, or its roof tiles, and brings back treats for everyone, created right there in the visited locale, made in the shape of
a -- lantern, a bird, or a roof tile, all laid out in a nice box for tasty travel souvenirs, all baked in a mold and filled with white or brown sweet bean paste as above, with a shelf life of about 10 years, and everyone oohs and ahhs over the deliciousness of it, every time.

But for me, long before the 150th time, a series of little mental bubble-clouds pop up, asking: do I like the taste of the shape of a bird better than the taste of the shape of a lantern? Can I taste the difference between shapes? What does shape taste like, anyway? Is it a Japanese taste? Can Americans taste shape if they live long enough in Japan? It seems not... Though it does my heart good to see Hello Kitty fried...

After hundreds of these food objects (I have a desk drawer full of these things, they make great paperweights),
I just don't get it. I always begin to wonder: isn't anybody asking for maybe a change? Maybe a little chocolate inside, or strawberry jam or, oh, anything? For a change? Hello? This isn't the first time I've asked.

I know I'm missing something here as the outsider, but no matter where I look, I just can't find it, because it's outside me, a guy who grew up with jelly (raspberry, strawberry etc.)/chocolate/cream donuts, as just one example, in a land like a cultural carnival where every foody souvenir is really different, and generally eaten on the spot, like the coconut creme pie at that little roadside restaurant in Vermont in 1971... I don't remember the taste of the shape, but I'll never forget the taste of the pie.

Photos via

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New frogs this evening -
from out of the ground
the ancient song


And this morning too, after the nights’ rain I watched in the cooling dawn the vapor rise in great white gouts like reaching hands, a dance of cloudy spirals and watery flames above the deeper mist veiling the backdrop of the darker mountains, plunging into abrupt and sinuous relief the formerly two-dimensional dawnscape, scribing ridges, defiles, groves and the taller, ancient trees with the stroke of a mist-brush plied with the grace of a dancer, the dancer that turns in all water, leaps in all sky.