From the burweed,
Such a butterfly
Kobayashi Issa, translated by R. H. Blyth
My family and I were stuck in a small town in Slovenia during the toughest Covid-19 lockdown of 2020. It was prohibited to leave the town district. Disturbing news and disagreements in society aggravated the situation more.
That time felt like a prolonged moment between the past and the future. Was it the beginning or the end? Was it the beginning or the end of what? It was frightening and disturbing. The forest was my place of refuge.
In Japan, they say Shinrin-yoku, which means a “forest bathing trip”. Going into the forest and absorbing its atmosphere, my mind calmed down and my eyes caught the beauty of the imperfect perfect nature. In nature, the beginning is equivalent to the end, and being in a lingering slowed-down state, I noticed with particular sharpness the beauty of impermanence and transience. These feelings were very close to wabi-sabi, which is a Japanese aesthetic concept centered on finding beauty in every aspect of imperfection in nature. In contemplating this impermanence, I regained my footing and stability.
The autumn days passed slowly, one by one, stringing together a tanka poem.