Long-range plans are not my forté. Sometimes,they are neccesary, but in general, I prefer to make it up as I go along, follow my instincts, and see what might appear. Sometimes this results in a clash with my scientific husband who is a more linear thinker. He has called my seemingly random excursions, “aimless wandering.” That’s the whole point, but I think you have to be wired a certain way to enjoy it. It has been known to drive him crazy, but today, happily, we were on the same wave length.
This kind of travel is serendipitty doo dah for me. This is a look I seem to get when visiting a temple. I am calling it my quasi-spiritual look.
What can be more fun than coming upon some wonderful place that is unexpected? Seeing a flower for the first time or the final time in the season? Taking in the complexity of the stone work pathways. Looking at the details and beauty of a bamboo fence. Listening to the sweet sounds of birds, so high in the ancient trees, I can never spot them. It’s eye and ear candy, pure and simple.
As far as temples go, I hear tourists saying they’re “templed out.” As far as I’m concerned, temples can be like people, they have a lot of similar characteristics that are arranged differently. No two are ever just alike. But you can’t be rushed in meeting them. Each entrance, gateway, walkway, garden, bell tower, hondo, etc. are different. Do I have a fave? Not really.
Today, we traveled a few miles north of central Kyoto to visit a trio of small temples in the foothills. The Japanese maples are just beginning their autumn displays at this slightly higher altitude. Bus loads of tourists will descend in a week or two, I imagine, when the colors are more vivid and cause the viewer to gasp in disbelief. Today, all was calm and peaceful. Probably the calm before the storm. It allowed me take in details that in more crowded circumstances could be overlooked.
Today the quiet on the temple grounds felt heavy and dense. Today, I noticed for the first time that there can be different qualities to quiet.
By the time we toured all three temples we were ready to eat lunchee. (adopted Japanese word.) There were no immediate restaurants, so we began to walk along the narrow country road towards what we thought might be the nearest town. We didn’t have to go far before coming to a small restaurant with no English spoken and no English menu. If you show a willingness to “work” with the staff, it’s been our experience that you will always get something to eat. Today, it was okonomyaki Just the best, simple and delicious.