These guys are encased in a small shrine area on a very busy road, one of my common bike routes. The encasing is concrete on top of a concrete ground, right under a very busy Shinkansen train line. They are deity idols, “jizo”, meant to protect people on their travels. Every time I get here, the stillness and peace emanating from this little oasis makes me pause, stare at them, and say a little thank you. I love how their “outfits” match the orange of the “mikan” (tangerine) offering here.
The shrine of the tiny island forest
allows entry after hurtling gales of wind
onto the bridge, until the threshold is
crossed. The gods have been pacified by
our perseverance, and remark on our
long-awaited arrival, like they have been waiting.
Dried yellow leaves hang from the gate,
slick moss skirts along a log once reaching
for the low-hanging sky,
dewy but never cold.
I fall in the face of beauty every time.
I touch my forehead to Earth in reverence for its certainty.
The fall deepens, my thoughts absorbed
like they are the cherished secrets
I have hoped they’d become.
Every step, a new wondrous accounting
of the ground’s ever-presence.
Wild life thrusts upward through
the obstacles we have made.
They will not be appeased,
they do not need our comfort.
The flower unfolding, in scarlet bloom,
never asking why, the tree’s broad
I dream of a field where we can sit
and eat the light and drink the little river,
of sitting in the garden, where the sun fills
Maybe it’s true, that they’ve been
waiting these long years,
and now we’ve come.
The loveliness of clouds, white and suspended.
This is what the view wants to say:
I am you.
Steam rising over rocks,
a life force carved by love,
carrying the magic