Narrow Road To The Interior ((INSTALL))
The months and days are the travellers of eternity. The years that come and go are also voyagers. Those who float away their lives on ships or who grow old leading horses are forever journeying, and their homes are wherever their travels take them. Many of the men of old died on the road, and I too for years past have been stirred by the sight of a solitary cloud drifting with the wind to ceaseless thoughts of roaming.
Narrow Road to the Interior
Last year I spent wandering along the seacoast. In autumn I returned to my cottage on the river and swept away the cobwebs. Gradually the year drew to its close. When spring came and there was mist in the air, I thought of crossing the Barrier of Shirakawa into Oku. I seemed to be possessed by the spirits of wanderlust, and they all but deprived me of my senses. The guardian spirits of the road beckoned, and I could not settle down to work.
Oku no Hosomichi was written based on a journey taken by Bashō in the late spring of 1689. He and his traveling companion Kawai Sora (河合曾良) departed from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) for the northerly interior region known as Oku, propelled mostly by a desire to see the places about which the old poets wrote in an effort to "renew his own art." Specifically, he was emulating Saigyō, whom Bashō praised as the greatest waka poet; Bashō made a point of visiting all the sites mentioned in Saigyō's verse. Travel in those days was very dangerous, but Bashō was committed to a kind of poetic ideal of wandering. He traveled for about 156 days altogether, covering almost 1,500 miles (2,400 km), mostly on foot. Of all of Bashō's works, this is the best known.
Japanese poetry is well-known for its clarity and concision, and The Narrow Road to the Interior and Hojoki are two of the best-loved, and most intensely Japanese, works of their kind; famous for their beautiful, delicate verse and subtle insight into the human condition. It has been said of The Narrow Road that 'it was as if the very soul of Japan had itself written it'. It takes the form of a travel diary, and traces the poet's journey from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to the northern interior. Hojoki, a much earlier work written by Chomei, a Buddhist hermit, is essentially a meditation on the transience of the world. Read by the famous classical Japanese actor Togo Igawa, the full beauty of its ancient cadences and rhythms is drawn out.
About one hour tour, I arrived at the small port at Kitasenjyu. Kitasenjyu is a North of used Senjyu where was the first Shukuba town of Nikko road and Ousyu road.Sumida river and Nishi-Fukagawa-bashi bridge in Tokyo
The months and days, the travelers of a hundred ages;the years that come and go, voyagers too.floating away their lives on boats,growing old as they lead horses by the bit,for them, each day a journey, travel their home.Many, too, are the ancients who perished on the road.Some years ago, seized by wanderlust, I wandered along the shores of the sea.
The moon and sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on. A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. From the earliest times there have always been some who perished along the road. Still I have always been drawn by wind-blown clouds into dreams of a lifetime of wandering. . . .
The passing days and months are eternal travellers in time. The years that come and go are travellers too. Life itself is a journey; and as for those who spend their days upon the waters in ships and those who grow old leading horses, their very home is the open road. And some poets of old there were who died while travelling.
THE island settlements off the coast of Maine have their own rhythm, like the slow gait of a patient mother, not to be hurried along by the casual intrusions of the mainland. Having weathered a varied history - many were first summer encampments for the mainland Indians, then lumbering settlements, until, stripped of their virgin tree covers, they turned to fishing and lobstering - they can accept change without rushing toward it. We were visiting Swans Island, taking the Everett Libby ferry from Bass Harbor, across the steely waters of Blue Hill Bay, to Atlantic where the ferry docks. Swans Island is one of the larger coastal islands, a rocky maze of inlets and narrows, with two small mountains rising 200 feet from its marshy interior. With only 350 year-round residents, it has three post offices and no taxis. We were coming to look at a 12-acre parcel of land for sale, feeling insignificant and presumptuous among the names of families that live there, names like Kent, Sprague, and Grindle, that stretch back to the 1700s, when settlers were first lured to the island by promises of 100 acres for seven years of farming.
The road wound between island farms, warm in the protection of the island's interior. An empty one-room schoolhouse stood abandoned in an overgrown field. Then the pavement graded into dirt and finally deteriorated to a muddy gouge through the undergrowth. It ended abruptly in a great pile of forest loam and upended trees. We were not prepared for this. In restudying our map, we saw that we were six miles down the wrong end of the road, so we started back.
My husband started to say ``No, thank you,'' but I drowned him out with a hasty ``Yes, and bless you.'' I looked into the cab, with its front seat and narrow passenger-shelf behind - it was already filled with various small forms and a lovely, quiet-looking woman.
``I'm a preacher,'' he said, ``the island preacher. But around here, that's not enough, not with my six little ones. On weekdays, I'm a jack-of-all-trades - lobsterman when the weather's good, part of the highway crew when they need me. Last month we dynamited the holes for those telephone poles.'' He motioned to the newly placed poles alongside the road. ``That one, there - the rock she's sittin' in's so soft we had to blast it out six times before the hole amounted to much.'' He paused. ``Yup, on the island, one's gotta' keep pluggin' 28 hours a day to make a go of things.''
I felt a bit inadequate, measured against this island preacher. When we reached the narrow path that led to the land, he stopped the truck. ``Now if you folks insist, I'll let you out. Just remember, when you get back to the main road, if you need any help, just stick out your thumb, anyone passing will be glad to stop.'' We shared a warm goodbye.
The walk back to the ferry terminal was long. The fog had settled back in, thick enough now to qualify as rain, and we plodded. Just before the turnoff for the ferry, a blue pickup honked and pulled over. The preacher's wife hailed us. She bubbled forth with an easy stream of conversation. ``My husband was sure you wouldn't make it, so he sent me out to see that you did. Looks like you made it, though - you're some walkers.'' Her admiration was genuine. She pulled back on the road and 12 hands waved gaily from the six kids now scattered all over the truck.
We reached the terminal and waited for the ferry in a cold drizzle, having decided with pinched sadness that we would not be coming back as fair-weather residents. We had seen that the eastern end of the island beyond the narrows was being subdivided, a change we felt unable to accept. We left feeling wiser. In this small realm where existence is lean, people know work and how to help folks from away. It is what we hope mainland progress cannot change.
Monitor journalism changes lives because we open that too-small box that most people think they live in. We believe news can and should expand a sense of identity and possibility beyond narrow conventional expectations.
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