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