|Rainbow strikes near the village of Takatsuki, Nagahama (Shiga).|
Shichijuni-kou (72 Seasons) Calendar Listing
晩春 Banshun: "Late Spring"
Season No. 5: 清明, Seimei:
"Clear And Bright"
|Rainbow Over Ohmi (Shiga).|
Niji Hajimete Arawaru:
"The First Rainbows Appear"
(April 14 -April 19)
The sky changes restlessly now, shifting effortlessly between neon blue and unsettled gray. Though the rainy season is officially two months away, people go to work with folded umbrellas in hand, prepared should the skies suddenly darken and dump their liquid sunshine without warning. It's hard to dress in the mornings. The noontime sun teases us with heat just warm enough for a long-sleeved shirt minus coat. But we all know we will shiver come evening from the cold stored up in the walls. The body can't keep up with these constant changes, and so the dreaded influenza virus runs rampant along city trainlines and in public schools (as if the cedar pollen allergy wasn't enough!).
Yet in my heart, I feel a sense of elation. A fan of the rain and cold, I relish every icy wind gust while they still blow. The earth needs as much water as it can hold for the hot summer months just around the bend. And so when it rains, I rejoice, especially when the sun decides to play hide-and-seek with the clouds, laughing in wide grins of color.
Representing the elusive connection between the divine and mundane, these luminescent, shimmering bridges to Heaven are the stuff of lovesongs and faery tales, fading in and out gently like pleasant memories. Most people I know view rainbows as symbols of joy, forgiveness and deliverance.
But for the longest time, I saw rainbows as proof of my unhappiness, of things I wanted but probably could never have. Unfulfilling job? I could surely find a better one over the rainbow. No money? There was a pot of gold with my name on it at the end of said rainbow. In a lame relationship? My heart's true love was definitley waiting for me somewhere under that same rainbow (but playing hard-to-get, no doubt).
Quite recently, my discontent had nearly gotten the better of me. I thought I wasn't satisfied with my lot in life, that the good times had passed and that I was screwed from here on in. Though I had a tender and attentive husband, a sweet pad in the middle of Heaven on Earth and the best friends and family on the planet, it still wasn't enough for me. I thought I was lacking, needing to control and chase until I finally seized what I thought was missing. (Though whenever I chase, I only seem to wind up lonelier than before. Funny, that).
This time, ironically, it took a rainbow for me to see that I have all I could ever need.
On our anniversary, my Hubby and I braved storm conditions to climb to the top of Mt. Senkoji (Onomichi, Hiroshima) in the gusty wind and flying rain, dodging people trying to get off the mountain. Right when we stepped onto the platform to admire the sea of cherry trees down below in full bloom, in front of us stretched a glittering rainbow, second in brightness only to the sun on the opposite skyline. As I watched his coffee eyes sparkle in amazement and wonder, I felt a joy in my heart, like I'd seen the face of God and lived to tell the tale.
It made me realize an undeniable truth in my life: though we don't own a single thing symbolic of affluence, success or wealth in earthly terms, we still have each other's friendship, and the ability to mutually savor a moment in all its sweetness. I dare say it's enough, in a world where it's so hard for anyone to recognize when they've found happiness. I need not look for more. Besides, to yearn is to depreciate the universe I already hold in the palm of my hand.
|Our Anniversary Gift from Onomichi (Hiroshima).|
Flower of the Season: 藤, Fuji, Wisteria
|Lush wisteria graces a streetside park (Kurashiki, Okayama).|
|Lavender-colored wisteria spills over a trellis in Tone, Ibaraki (2006).|
|Wisteria on display at Sankei-en Gardens (near Hiroshima Int'l Airport).|
Seeking an inn
Wisteria flowers." -Matsuo Basho
|Purple rain in the backyard of a lucky home in Takehara, Hiroshima.|
|The massive Achi Wisteria of Kurashiki, Okayama.|
The joy lies in discovery.
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