haikai

A November with Basho, Day 23

Author’s note: I’m afraid that my November with Basho ends today. Unfortunately, due to illness, work demands, and Thanksgiving, I could not keep up. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.

Zenshoji

Sora, suffering from persistent stomach ailments, was forced to return to his relatives in Nagashima in Ise Province. His parting words:

sick to the bone

if I should fall, I’ll lie

in fields of clover

He carries his pain as he goes, leaving me empty. Like paired geese parting in the clouds.

Now falling autumn dew

obliterates my hatband’s

“We are two”

I stayed at Zensho-ji, a temple near the castle town of Daishoji in Kaga province. It was from this temple that Sora departed last night, leaving behind:

All night long

listening to autumn winds

wandering in the mountains

One night like a thousand miles, as the proberb says, and I too listened to fall winds howl around the same temple. But at dawn, the chanting of sutras, gongs ringing, awakened me. An urgent need to leave for distant Echizen Province. As I prepared to leave the temple, two young monks arrived with ink stone and paper in hand. Outside, willow leaves fell in the wind.

Sweep the garden–

all kindnesses falling

willo leaves repay

My sandals already on, I wrote it quickly and departed.

Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior,” translated by Sam Hamill, the Essential Basho, p. 32-33

Turning Seasons

Swirling winds carry fallen leaves from my neighbor’s yard onto mine. I have no time to clear them; already, the cold plays havoc with the barbeque. My first attempt at a reverse sear of a tenderloin results in a dish too rare to serve without first requiring both broiler and microwave. Fortunately, our twenty-one guests don’t notice. Paella, turkey platter, salad–not to mention the side dishes and Penne–offer them more than enough until the meat is ready.

We feast, drink, talk. And when Carla and Mike arrive with Sofia, we clap as she dances to Portugese songs.

Thanksgiving

the first stars

emerge

A day reserved for writing became a day to tend errands. Still, we carry on our tradition of purchasing our Christmas Tree from Born of Earth. While tenders prepare our tree, we peruse the Christmas decorations inside the nursury–and sip the hot cider they offer for free!

Another night, another day. Just like that, November’s end arrives. Soon, we’ll finish decorating our home for Christmas. One holiday ends, another holiday season begins.

Sometimes the journey is like that.

O Christmas Tree

our lights and ornaments

await

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