Seeing Trees Again


(The only picture I got of this fall’s ginko trees at Komaba campus.)

It has been far too long since I wrote here. The last few months, I have been focused solely on my Master’s thesis. I have not left my computer for more than a quick trip to the supermarket or to get a book off a shelf. I have not attended my noh lessons, which inspired me to follow this path of noh scholarship. I even missed most of the fall foliage as it appeared, because I had cooped myself up in my apartment, surrounded by suburban sprawl with few trees, and wa too internally focused on my thoughts to see what few indications there were around me.

But this blog has been in the back of my mind as I struggled to express myself in academic terms. Although I started this blog to work on my writing, it has been mostly about ideas that catch my fancy, freer thoughts than the academically researched, carefully constructed, and well supported interpretation I wrote about in my thesis. I miss that freedom. That is not to say, of course, that I dislike the reassurance of having a well-supported argument. (Oh that last sentence was really academic! Haha!)

Of course, there are some things that can’t be written about academically, like the atmospheric observations of mood during these months holed up writing, reconstructing a world in words. It is lonely living among ideas that have yet to be communicated. And also after having finished a text with the discovery that the text doesn’t express all the ideas initially intended to be expressed.

I’m reminded of Saigyo’s poem again.

Moro tomo ni kage wo naraburu hito mo areya tsuki no morikuru sasa no io ni
For a friend, if only there were someone who would line up their shadow next to mine in this grass hut that the moon has filled with light.

(My translation)

The double image of actually being alone in the moonlight and of wishing for someone with whom to share that spot in the moonlight is to the point. Even if I’m ever able to satisfactorily express my ideas to someone, they will still be sitting beside me and not where I sit, experiencing the moonlight from their own perspective.

So, enough for now of locking myself in my own little world. I need to begin reading again and interacting with people.

6 thoughts on “Seeing Trees Again

  1. “The knowledge
    came, a decadence
    that gives one experiments.
    The passion
    came by memories
    who took form, this abstraction.
    Ousted in
    capitol for as
    long as it took for one to
    be left out;
    grew into fever
    by the progress of fidelity”

    I’m inspired by Hanna and last year I felt the same. This year I feel individual enough to share a web-short-site. I’m not sure if this one was going to move forward from it’s starting point. Perhaps, I was too impatient to wait until a year was up and needed a split-jump-karaoke to feel so.


      1. I would not rule out, for poets, the unique formatting around us. From all the places we read. Within our adaptations that learning continues to break the spells that may find ways to curse‡ us. That breaking a spell sometimes requires breaking one therein.
        So willing, that short is different this time…

        ‡<A HTML= ""Curse in lieu of/like wikipedia

        Well, that was one of a few starts
        but probable that,
        to me,
        it is a veritable dead end.
        I, possibly should not
        have mentioned it,
        am here.


  2. Well said Hanna. Things that are of the common experience that can be weighed and measured in some manner can be written about academically. To try and write academically about those things that are our personal experience, our own “atmospheric observations ” of our inner world is just to waste words and time. We can never communicate that inner world accuratly because no one else has the same point of refferance. It is the job of the artist be it poet,painter, musician,dancer or whatever, to try and bride that unbridgeable gap.

    1. Dear Gene,

      Yes it is the job of the artist, I agree, and I am wondering if I should dedicate some time in the coming year to writing a more artistic text than my most recent project. But this job of communication can also be the job of the philosopher, who struggles to find the nuanced phrases that can describe the most personal and yet most fundamental observations of what it means to be alive. Where philosophy, art, and myth collide, that is where magic happens, I believe.

      Happy Holidays, Gene!


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