Here and Now

Standing on a dock in Cape Cod after midnight, illuminated only by the moon.

Moonlit trees
dance in the water

I welcome the arrival of warmth with an unmatched enthusiasm this year. The beautiful northeast spring is almost here, which means the world around us becomes lush and begs to be explored. It also means that watermelons are nearly in season. I like the idea of uniformly cubical watermelons that can be sliced like a loaf. (Lecture 2/25) The importance of wrappers reminded me of one of my favorite films, Tokyo!, an anthology film containing three short films created by three non-Japanese directors. One by Bong Joon-ho entitled “Shaking Tokyo” was about a self declared hikikomori, or a reclusive young individual, who lived alone in a meticulously arranged home that embodies form. Every Friday he orders a pizza, and when he finishes eating it he adds the empty box to a perfect wall of boxes. The more I think about it the more this film embodies all of the concepts we have talked about in the class. I think I will write about it for one of our papers. I identify with Matsuo Basho’s journey of self-discovery or self-abandonment. (Lecture 2/25) One of his poems in particular reminds me of a spot in deeply rural Tennessee my friends and I would backpack and camp.

Silent a while in a cave
I watched a waterfall,
For the first of
The summer observances. (Basho 101)

His poems’ open interpretation are what make Basho so popular. This poem so perfectly describes my experience, and yet it must describe a million others with equivalent accuracy, lending itself to the concept of zen as “general self discovery in an abstract space. Home wherever you are.” (Lecture 2/25) His work has actually inspired me to write similar poems on my long cross-country motorcycle trip. The trip’s intention is to escape the protocol and form that I am currently responsible for, despite the Japanese understanding that becoming unanchored from protocol is to lose everything. (Inouye 88). Perhaps I am escaping one protocol only to respond to another. Escaping from this society does not change the fact that “in a world of incessant change, formality is vitally important.” (Inouye 88). My moment described above was the most aware of the here and now I have been in months.

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