Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Λυκα in the Mist

As I do not possess a camera, I have appropriated for this entry a photo of an anonymous man posing in the Shirakami mountains. I would like to direct your gaze beyond this personage to the misty mountains rolling towards the horizon. Such is my home.

My primeval lust for these lush, blue, rolling forests of Aomori was a large factor in my return to the region, and so I have wasted no time in beginning my explorations into the hill country of my village’s interior. Yesterday I acquired a 1:50,000 scale topographical map of Kazamaura and, armed with this useful instrument, I planned and executed a journey up the river that runs along the bottom of the hill on which I live. It was more of a march than a hike as there is a gravel service road penetrating to the headwaters and beyond, and it was confirmed to me once again that Japan seems hell-bent on shackling the entire land with concrete and steel. Even this tiny 6km river in this tiny village is interrupted by bridges, dams and fish ladders until at last, hemmed in on both sides by concrete walls and overlooked by a naked hillside held in place by a concrete grid-work, it expends itself into a shabby little harbor. These are the measures we take to live consequence-free in the valleys. Even so, above the last bridge all was beauty as the evening mists descended and in the twilight, with sudden gusts of wind animating the trees, I was overcome with the holiness of their Creator and gave glory to God. Contrary to Mr. Kawashima’s fears, neither bear nor monkey attacked me in the course of the evening.