I begin a rise above marshes;
a canopy of gray darkens to indigo,
sky thickened with ashen quilt
of smoke from incense burning.
Sea’s indigo depths broken
only with white wavelets,
lotuses against kimono blue.
Climb hill in solitude and silence,
park deserted on this solemn, peaceful day.
Suddenly, two large drops of sunlight
weave and bob in meadow,
diving in and out of grasses
lined with lacy weed and
rotund hips of wild rose.
A pair of goldfinches feed in field;
a slight squabble over seed
sends them into a whirl of wings,
swirl of melted butter.
I pass under the arch
of a gate to sacred space
where separations blur
and, like a primitive or a child,
I am lost in the moment
of this delight.
First published in Dasoku, Kaji Aso Institute for the Arts, Spring 2001
Watercolor based on photo by Nancy Smith, nature photographer and fellow birder.