Nonoshita Walks

The place I live, whilst being close to Toyoshiki station and across the road at which Kashiwa meets Nagareyama, is called Nonoshita. Though a lot of people live here now, it is historically an agricultural area, as can be seen from the presense of farms and farmhouses. One thing I love to do is walk in the countryside near my place. You just have to go about ten minutes and you are in a peaceful, unchanged world of farmhouses, flowers, rice fields, wild birds and gently swaying trees. Walking through this, in the sunshine, with the songs of various birds echoing around the hillsides, is a treat in itself.

For me it is like an extended garden, a contemporary version of the perfection of Eden. The practical nature of all the arrangements there drops away for me and I see the ecosystem at play, with all it’s beauty and mystery. At each step I find new, small surprises- a pheasant crying to her mate here, ducks flying gracefully through the air there, tadpoles swimming joyfully in their first days of life. it is like a poem in motion, laid out before me. It doesn’t just change every season, it changes each day, as they blend together, millions of elements making one moment quite unlike any other.

I believe when people love the Earth, they will naturally try to protect her, just as they would their own children. Which isn’t to say the Earth is like a child for us, in fact it may well be the other way around. Yet this is an affectionate, appreciative feeling, which you could direct to God or Earth or creators-sons, or whatever else one thanks for this glory. For, in the moment of apprehension, there is really no question  that there is the mark of something divine in it all and one is wrapped up in the communion with it, the joy of sharing in the wonder. We need nothing more than what we already have.

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