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Spring Sunsets

日本語をも少し待て下さい。
These days the sun is always finding me. Or is it the other way around? It really hard to say sometimes. Walking on a path in the woods I have to constantly put the brakes on to my purposeful striding - stop, look, take a photo, ( physically and mentally), then smile and march on. “March” seems like a hard word to use, but paired with Soldier of Light it sounds appropriate. It is not just looking at and enjoying the light, but being able to convey it to others. Sometimes when I am watching the movement of the sun crossing the forest or raking across the metallic buildings in the city, I look around and it seems as if most people don’t notice it. Even when I am in a hurry I HAVE TO stop. I WANT TO stop. Who sees who? Who sees what?

In the fall, the setting of the sun is short and sweet, to the point of being made into a well-know Japanese metaphor:

Aki no yuu hi, tsurebe otoshi
“The fall sun sets as a bucket falling into a well”

Makes me wonder if there is an opposite version for a spring season, long-lasting sunset. The other day I was driving east towards home down the two-lane highway known as Nagasa Kaido (translated loosely as “The Long and Winding Road”). A red sunset ball in my rearview mirror seemed to hang there forever, like one of those red laser-pointer dots, following my actions, appearing as red catch lights on unsuspecting house windows and shimmering across water filled spring paddies. So here is my metaphor in the form of a haiku.

Spring sunset
Floats on the horizon
A balloon on fire.

春の夕日
水平線で浮かぶ
燃える風船

Haru no yuu hi, suiheisen de ukabu, moeru fusen

For two days in a row I found myself in the forest, facing the setting sun as it moved in slow motion towards the end of its day, filling me with the coincidental wonder of being in the right place at the right time.

Edward_Levinson_spring_sunset
"Spring Sunset" 1996 (photo from my book "Timescapes Japan" p 19
写真は「タ ムスケープス・ジャパン」p19より