Cherry Blossom, Kami-Suwa
We arrived late at night, exhausted, at this small town in Japan. Got no sense of the place from the dark train window, or the short taxi ride. I woke early to a dull gray day, and found a map in the room – we are right on a lake – decided to run.
Stepped out after a quick cup of Green Tea – low clouds and a sharp wind cutting to the bone, as I set off on a path by the lake. Cold. I soon realize this is a winter wind – we are some 3000 feet up, and spring is probably not here yet! I take shelter running in narrow streets, deserted, the occasional morning stroller huddled in layers of woolens. About to turn back, I come up to the local palace – just a Lord’s House, I find later. A Moat surrounds the wall – inside, I find a truly perfect garden. Cherry trees in full bloom, a pond, rocks and a pebbled beach. Groomed to perfection. It is raining, now, but in this Zen Garden, the rain drops line up, and fall with geometric precision.
Later, when my Customer took us to lunch at their Club House, walking thru a hillside of pine trees, it started to snow, incredibly, the Gods not having checked Internet Weather, and we walk uphill, wondering if sunshine and snow gets us a snowbow.
A bright crisp dawn wakens me early – this really is the Land of the Rising Sun. I set off around the lake in bright sunshine, a cool, clear day, ducks quacking happily, crows feasting on early worms. I can see right across and around the lake, it is a delightful morning, Japanese perfection in evidence all around, as I turn into the gentle wind and set off. Politesse abounds. One woman has a strained expression as I near her; she says ‘Good Morning’. I wish her ‘Ohaiyo Guzaimasu’, and silently thank her for the effort.
Running over a bridge, I realize I am looking at snow capped Mt Fuji. I bow and ask Fuji-san to give me …….. wisdom …….. patience? Fuji-san has to figure out what I need most. Stronger knees, to be sure!
Pheidippiddes is at the Gates of Sparta in my current book. Modern man runs for a different reason, but the opportunity to reflect, and to get in touch with nature, ones’ surroundings, body and mind is the same.
Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom ring the shore. Some near white, some almost pink. Lush blooms. School girls in uniform and the layered socks that are in fashion. Father and daughter setting off in a kayak.
The run seems to lengthen – I am stretched – have not run this far since my injury. Other runners overtake me, as I tire. At last! I am back, and stretching on a grassy bank. Tourists and locals taking pictures by the Cherry Trees. Spring has arrived today.