On Fire

A fresh start,
An open heart
To welcome 2013.

This morning, while looking through my pack rat stash of magazine clippings, letters, postcards, and yellowed Sunday comics (hello again, Calvin and Hobbes!), I stumbled upon this poem by Susan Wooldridge (from the book Poemcrazy) that a poet friend had sent me eons ago. Every time I read it, it sparks a burning desire to write, and now I’d like to share it with you:

BIRD TRACKS ON WHITE BARK

Ishi, a Yashi
loved matches,
how easily they strike fire.
Words on paper
have no apparent glow.
Ishi called them bird tracks on white bark.
But words on white paper
can move from mind to mind
like flames from roof to roof in wind
not one word spoken.

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The Secret Diary and The Lonely Glove

I just watched the Japanese movie Closed Note—it was moving, sweet, and at times achingly sad (though in the end, I was smiling through my tears, I promise you). Without giving too much away, it’s about a girl named Kae (Erika Sawajiri, of 1 Litre of Tears fame—why does this girl always make me cry??) who discovers a diary in the house she has just moved into. It turns out to be the journal of the former tenant, schoolteacher Ibuki Mano (the angel-faced Yuko Takeuchi), and after trying to resist the temptation of reading someone else’s private thoughts, Kae soon finds herself inspired by Ibuki’s cheerful spirit, and intrigued by her love story.

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Closed Note

The movie struck a chord with me, because I’ve always wanted to be a schoolteacher. I even used to help out in the pre-school classes of my teacher friends, and simple acts like tying shoelaces or reading a fairy tale to an enraptured little crowd was pure, unadulterated joy. But the one time I was given the chance to handle a class on my own, the kids just walked all over mouse-voiced, meek me. So that dream pretty much went kaput. But movies like these give me a chance to live vicariously (does a fictional account count as living vicariously?).

Anyway…There was a scene where Ibuki meets her crush Takashi, and the arches reminded me of those at the sprawling grounds of the Nanzen-Ji Temple located towards the end of the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto, which my hubby and I visited in 2010.

Closed Note

I remember being enthralled by the surprise row of arches that didn’t seem to lead anywhere (but at this point, our feet were about to fall off after a full day of walking, so we were in no mood to explore further). Miracle of miracles, hubby agreed to pose for this cheesy token shot I love (taken by our travel buddies M and P).

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Toto and Pierra. Kyoto, 2010

 

Also on the grounds of Nanzen-ji, I spied this cast-off glove lying on the roots of a tree. Something about this sight brought on a deep melancholy—the thought that it was carelessly abandoned or forgotten, and now missing its partner… It made me wonder about what happened here—did its owner peel it off to scratch an itch on her hand, or perhaps slap a philandering lover across the face? Had the glove been lying here for months, or mere minutes? Could its owner have been the girl that just brushed past me in haste? It made me wonder about its owner’s back story, and how people’s lives can intersect through forgotten diaries and discarded gloves…

Discarded glove. Kyoto, 2010

And thus, today’s random photo was brought to you (in a roundabout way) by last night’s viewing of Closed Note.