Hatsu yuki – First Snow: Ryoanji

I am posting on Real Toads Tuesday Platform.


Hatsuyuki – First Snow
Midnight.  I walk to the trees at the verge of the woods. I can see against the rough black bark where bits of snow have settled into the crevices of the bark – like exotic plants on the steep side of the cliff. I touch the snow with my lips – soft cold against rough and then melting. I bow my head against the tree – I murmur 侘寂 wabi-sabi.

The stillness, the snow, the silence.   I am no longer here but there – years past on the viewing platform at *Ryoanji. On the wall sit hundreds of suzume – sparrows.  Like me, they are watching the rocks in the 枯山水, karesansui. Feathers fluffed against the cold, tiny bright eyes seeing all. The air becomes sweet and before the suzume begin to flutter, I know…snow. I feel them on my face before I see the flakes and soon, they stick to the gravel, to the moss around the base of the rocks. The birds flutter off to more sheltered spaces but a few stay for the crumbs the humans leave behind.

Ryoanji and hatsuyuki. I stay until the moss is white and the ***suzume have all left. Straight down and fast, the snow falls. I stand and bow the long, deep bow of deepest respect. As I leave, it comes together for me – mujo – impermance, wabi sabi – the beauty of imperfection, mono no aware – the deep sadness at the passing of things – the snow that falls, the snow that melts, the birds that fly away…and the rocks that stay behind.

snow falls – white **sho-ru –
silence drifts to cover rocks –
peaceful dragon sleeps

* Peaceful Dragon

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Magaly Guerrero
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 00:09:51

    I suspect that the next time I see a mount of snow, I will think of sleeping dragons… peacefully. Yes, the last image made me smile.


  2. kim881
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 03:32:08

    I love your description of walking in snow at midnight, Tioni, especially the ‘rough black bark where bits of snow have settled into the crevices’, the way the snowflakes stick to the gravel and the silence. Most of all it’s the dragon sleeping under the now 🙂


  3. hypercryptical
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 06:18:09

    ” the deep sadness at the passing of things – the snow that falls, the snow that melts, the birds that fly away…and the rocks that stay behind.”
    I had never considered this Toni – thank you for opening my eyes.
    Anna :o]


  4. Rommy
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 10:05:54

    The first snow of the season offers us a moment to pause and mark the moment. I was lucky enough to have tea lessons during the first snow fall here and I did use “first snow” as the poetic name for my tea scoop.


  5. annell4
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 12:56:09

    I love this! Since the snow hasn’t really come yet this year…I wait for the sleeping dragon. The weather report tells us, tomorrow it will get cold, and will remain so, for several days….but dry, no snow.


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 13, 2017 @ 23:17:26

      It was dry here as well…then Saturday….5 inches of snow. More to come tomrrow. There is unmelted snow around. As my mother always said, “Old snow waiting for new”.

      Get Outlook for Android



  6. sanaarizvi
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 16:40:00

    This is beautifully poignant. I like how you describe walking in snow at midnight.


  7. Vivian Zems
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 17:05:39

    This was so good. The imagery of the snow and sparrows was sublime. The last part-you ‘killed it!’…..a very deep bow to you. Ps my kids use ‘killed it’ to mean super cool! 🙂


  8. Victoria C. Slotto
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 17:07:48

    Such a feeling of peace and wholeness this offers.


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