I awakened in Japan this morning to learn of the terrorist outrage in lower Manhattan. It’s not the news any of us want to see wherever we are. We live in times that can easily be called disheartening. I have felt the encroaching darkness for several months for reasons that don’t require illumination. Anyone with a functioning sensory mechanism has most likely felt a similar reaction to the political turmoil.
I looked forward to my Japanese visit as a way to reassure myself that there is still some semblance of decency and sanity remaining in the world. One doesn’t need to come to Japan to find it, of course, but for me, it makes it easier.
Appreciation of nature’s beauty is built into this culture and readily accessible. I am far from alone in my quest for distraction and sustenance. In the popular gardens, hundreds of tourists armed with phones and cameras clog the pathways, searching for their own moments of inspiration. Mostly, they seem preoccupied with taking selfies in front of a photogenic backdrop. I determine in the future to avoid these congregations as much as possible and focus my attention on the less obvious, making a vow to avoid these over popular spots.
Yesterday, we went to Arashiyama, to show our house guest the Western foothills of Kyoto. We visited Tenryuji, a world heritage site, and then wandered the bamboo forest, encountering some exuberant schoolgirls and many tourists along the way.
And finally, there’s comfort in learning that a dear friend, stayed safe today in lower Manhattan, although barely escaping the rampage.