Haibun : footsteps

old family photograph of mother

The Tosho-gu shrine complex devoted to Shogun Ieyasu at Nikko has 42 buildings including Kamijinko & the bell tower. With a rich history centuries old plus one more Shinto shrine and a Buddhist temple at Nikko, there are more than 100 buildings at this UNESCO World Heritage site. photo by Fg2 via Wikimedia Commons
old family photograph of mother
Mom at Kegon Falls, Chuzenji Lake above Nikko

Nikko is painted in brilliant scarlets and gold. Fantastic carved animals gambol below the eaves, watching the tourists below. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu rests here, guarded by dragons and a cat. Look there! A wrinkled elephant? The artist had never seen one, drawing and carving one from the description of a traveler returning with tales of humongous mammals. Gorgeous as it all is, soon so much color makes my eyes weary. I look towards the shadows playing across the stones, moss wandering beneath a tree. I understand now why hundreds of years ago, the monks had turned away from vivid hues to the quietude of wabi sabi. Up the mountain, beautiful Kegon Falls cascades down, filling the world with crashing symphonies. My mother walked here thirty years before me, both of us having come here in our twenties. I didn’t discover this until I brought the pictures back and she showed me hers. Following her footsteps unknowingly, I am always my mother’s daughter.

Nikko blazes bright
a Shogun’s mausoleum
my mother’s footsteps

haibun by M. LaFreniere, top photo also.  All other photos by other people.

Kano Tanyu (1602-1674) drew the designs for the elephants but had never seen elephants. He based his elephants on descriptions by travelers. photo by Fg2, via Wikipedia Commons
Mom at Nikko

Haibun Road : a haibun weekly challenge (wk 5) — Basho went to Mount Nikko too.

Three monkeys at Nikko, carved on the sacred stable. photo by Fg2,via Wikipedia Commons
Sleeping cat at Nikko. photo by Fg2,via Wikipedia Commons

I thought I had lost my photos all my Nikko photos from 1989 when my hard drive crashed eight years ago. Then today I came across the slides. Wow! Of course, now how to digitize them? I threw it on a scanner, super high rez. It’s not great but I can see the dragon along with the scanner’s dust and watermarks, chuckles. I have the waterfall too and icicles. I am just thrilled that they still exist.

old slide of Nikko dragon carving, photo by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved


You can use the Amazon search bar to do any search at Amazon

As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a fee if you click on the above links and buy something. This has no effect on the price and I’ll appreciate the kindness. Amazon disclosure: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”