Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Early rice

This photo was taken about a week and a half ago. The paddies in Otaki have been flooded to allow for rice seedlings to be planted. This is known a ta-ue 田植. The process creates in the landscape a set of parallel worlds stacked vertically upon one another. I wonder, sometimes, if one is truer than the other.

Rice seedlings sprouted early this year and so ta-ue was also moved up about a week. Residents continue to tell me how unusual this year is. Global warming tends to be the favored culprit as I probe deeper with questions.

How will the Otaki community respond to a changing climate? Will it be as simple as planting a week early? How can human members of the community predict some of the changes ahead? What can they do now to prepare?

Contemplations sprouting from rice paddies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Takibi 焚き火

Coolness descends as darkness crawls from the valley-bottoms to consume the earth. Storm clouds abate, leave us merry. We drink sake and stumble over river rocks--roar with laughter and stare wide-eyed at stars burning holes in the stratosphere. The world takes on a warm familiarity as I post myself assuredly upon the apodictic earth unwavering beneath my feet. I watch the smoke rise from the fire and realize how fleeting life is.

. . . good night Ontake-san.