Thursday, January 22, 2009


JOURNAL ENTRY FOR OUR
HATSUMODE

01.01.09: Hatsumode at Shirahige and Mizuo, a couple of my favorite local Shinto shrines. Bought an Ushi (cow) ema (Echo was born in an ushi year) at Shirahige-- Rainy snow, get in the loooooong line of folks waiting their turn to step up to the altar stairs and pull the thick multicolored braid, sound the jangly bell - a deific snooze alarm - every 30 seconds or so it irritates the Gods into wakeful attention to the prayers of the next family...

While Echo buys her ema I stand out of the sleet, next to the bronze dragon under the cleansing fountain roof, and watch all the carp in the clear pond crowd together to nibble at the incoming water, many of them the same brilliant color as the giant persimmon-orange torii out there in the Lake, making a sacred path of the horizon...

Then off to Mizuo, which is even deeper in snow country and its silvery air... No one now at the shrine despite the crowd of footprints... The giant green bamboos bow all the way down to the ground under the weight of feathery falling snow... We sip some god sake, Echo rings the bell before the small outdoor altar, claps and prays as the falling flakes add to the silence in that special preserve of the sacred...

3 comments:

vegetablej said...

Like a punch to the stomach and the heart for those having lived in the country of the gods. Is homesick the right word?

Bob Brady said...

I know the feeling very well... I think in some ways it's more severe than homesickness; return home is pretty much inevitable, but one might never return to Japan...

Gina said...

.... not true !
My husband returned to Japan after 40 years and I plan to return some day too. It's been too great a country for just once. Let me my hopes, please ... !
Gina

www.Ginaspics.net

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