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.

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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.

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