Tourists in shiny puffy coats, seeking famous Saihō-ji’s Koke-dera green mosses, rush by the little bamboo ticket office. ‘Koke-dera?’ on the move shouted at the Ticket Ladies. The Ladies give back narrow eyes, gently straighten pink kimono. No bow, no eye contact, delicate fingers gesture up the steep hill. Thirty dollars entry it must be worth the walk. I’m the only one off the train who stops at this emerald gem. Tiny, exquisite Gio-ji. Eight hundred years of moss, bamboo and maples growing quietly, relentlessly. Model for my own modest garden eight thousand kilometres south. Flaming fallen maple leaves scarlet against my own green moss has been my birthday marker for fourty years. Here on this significant decade birthday pink ume snow, cherry buds and bright winter green are my compensation. Years of dreaming and saving to be here, now. Only three dollars entrance.
The Ladies keep a close eye on the white paper umbrella just inside the gate. Beneath gaudy pink struts the very first of the early spring peonies sit breathtaking in the moss. White paper, Schiaparelli pink, moss green. I stop breathing for a moment. Bashō may have stood here under my very footfalls reflecting on a broken-hearted beauty retiring from her lover’s rejection.
the bee emerges from the deep
within the peony
The temple fundraising committee anticipate that such astonishing beauty laid naked must surely entice the paying customers. All winter the ladies anticipate that strident pink. Stopped at the bamboo gate, I am the bee. Camera in hand, I gaze a little too long. Stern fingers tap the price placard. Entrance price barked in a rough tone. Startled, ‘Yes’ I bark back in the same tone. I hand over the correct coins, beaming the joy of pink and green from my green occidental eyes into their dark oriental ones. Raucous laughter, teeth showing, loud, surprised into unlady-like mirth. ‘Hai’ – yes – bark back all the Ladies grinning. The emphatic, strident Japanese tone that says ‘You see the world my way.’
‘What’s this?’ laughed Father
‘Digging to China.’ Small hand waves fan.
This week I have set my self a challenge to visually interpret one Haiku each day. I’m told that setting an achievable goal is a good thing.
Today I am combining my seven day goal with a dVerse challenge. Kim’s challenge is a birthday haibun. https://dversepoets.com/2020/08/03/haibun-monday-birthday/ This is my first haibun. I had to look up what it was.
The diversity of the creative responses to a single prompt always amazes me. As does the speed at which that others can create. Have a read here: https://www.blenza.com/linkies/links.php?owner=dversepoets&postid=28Jul2020&meme=12489