January 03, 2007

Grass Roots

What do you think of when you hear the words “The farm”?
Some of you might envision idyllic fields and pastures with dairy cows roaming and grazing. Maybe there’s an old, weather worn barn complete with towering silo right along side it.
If you have a bit of Jason Bourne inside you could be thinking about CIA. Headquarters, imagining row upon row of computer banks and the multi-screened command room, where hundreds of people are busily working to find out what the forces of evil are planning to do next.
I think about my in-laws house and lack of anything interesting to do.
Pretty much when I'm there I'm workin in the fields, but it's the middle of winter and right now I’m without cable TV, without a new book to read, without an internet connection (there isn’t even a cyber café in this burg) so I am bored.
Without many distractions there is little to do but think and remember, think and remember.
As I search through my memories, I recall something that my wife said to me a couple of years ago. “your computer is so messy because you file things away on your hard drive just like you do in your head” I guess my heads is a little messy and it takes a while before I can quiet the inner voices down to a point where thoughts start rolling in like wave sliding onto a gentle sandy shoreline.
One after another, as long as I stay out of focus, my memories run random and disconnected and like the leaves on a page a day calendar showing the passage of time in a B movie, I find myself not just recalling this past year but others as well.
Although I can’t control the direction of my thoughts I can give them a nudge in the direction I would like to go. That doesn't mean I can avoid unpleasant or embarrassing recollections it means I can slow them down a bit to get a really good look at the things I've experienced.
To help clear my thoughts I like to roam around and discover parts of town I’ve never been to before. It’s good to get out of the house and walk about.
Since I’m probably the only foreigner in town I kinda stand out. People slow their cars down to get a good look at me and children tend to stop playing games or whatever they are doing to yell out a greeting in English. Sometimes it's nice. It makes me feel like a celebrity.
I occasionally get stopped and asked a question or two about where I'm from and have even, while resting my dogs on the side of the road, gotten fruit from a farmer riding a tractor .
If you're just passing through, most small towns seem dull and uninspiring, but if you get out of the car and walk through the roads and paths, you start to get a sense of the people living in the area. You see their fields and backyards, look at their junk piles and sheds, play with their dogs and watch their children. You see how they've changed things to make the world fit them and you get to see how they have fit themselves into the world around them too.
I take pictures of things when I walk. I don’t often include people in my photos, but this time I did. It makes for a clearer view of the story I want to tell.
This is one short moment in Kuzumaki....

These Next ones are from New Years day.

The shrine entrance

It's a long trek to reach the first shrine, guarded by fierce dogs.

Hachiman lives here

The shrine girls, called "MIKO". They sell all of the fortunes for the year.

NYD did well this year. Good luck in the year ahead.

Another shrine guarded by foxes

Writing KAKIZOME the spirit ensconsed in the first writings of the year.
When finished this will be the ideograph for light (hikari) my next one was woman (onna).


Izzy said...

You hear little voices in your head too? And I thought I was the only one... great minds think alike!

You pictures are beautiful. It seemed like you had peaceful new year filled with prayer and reflection. (well at least try to reflect).

It's nice to have time like that once in a while.

The Grunt said...

All those activities look so enjoyable in a meditative way. My mind tends to wander and meditate, so that is the stuff I like to do.

Scary Monster said...

Good to see you're still doin the right thing NYD. Cool pics of the shrines Me like that stuff. I went for a walk Meself. Come on bye and say hello when ya get the chance.

NYD said...

Izzy- I probably would have liked Cancun more.

Grunt- My brain is usually so darned overloaded that I need that stuff just to stay sane.

Scary- Will drop by just as soon as I finish this.

jeepgirl said...

You know, I could have handled New Year's somewhere like that... but I have to be in the mood for it. Otherwise I would be restless as you were. I guess it also depends on how "in your head" you are feeling. I can't get over how beautiful the pictures were though.