haikai

A November with Basho, Day 22

Natadera in Autumn

Along the road to Yamanaka Hot Springs, Mount Shirane rose behind our backs. At the foot of a mountain to our left we found a small temple to compassionate Kannon. After the retired Emperor Kazan had made a pilgrimage to the thirty-three western temples, he enshrined an image of the bodhisattva Kannon here, naming the temple nata, using the first syllables of the first and last temples of the thirty-three: Nachi and Tanigumi. A small thatch-roof temple built on a rock amoung boulders and twisted pines, Nata lingers in the mind:

Whiter than the stones

of Stone Mountain Temple–

autumn wind blows

Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior,” translated by Sam Hamill, the Essential Basho, p. 31

Pilgrimage

Sometimes, to see the mountain is enough. Sometimes, to see the shrine set in the mountain’s foothills is more than enough. We meander through the Stations of the Cross, visit the various Chapellets to Our Lady, and then pray at the Shrine’s heart.

What better consolation in a Marion month?

May breeze

how radiant in white

this Mary

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