Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 17: Mishō to Tsushima

It was sunny and warm down at sea level, but got cold as i walked over Kashiwazaka Pass this morning. Top of the ridge was in the clouds.

As I started the climb i saw this sign posted by the trail head.

The sign near the top is the typical henro trail marker. The big red sign says "No playing here, it is dangerous!"

Forced me to stop and consider what I was doing, but I climbed anyhow and the trail was fine. Some kind of joke?

On the way down I found an older woman sitting in front of an old building, or shack might be more accurate, in a small clearing.  She was surrounded by sticks of wood and had one propped up in front of her that she had obviously been sawing on. She must have been on a break when I got there because the two saws were sitting on a table by her side.

Our conversation was short but looped through the same sequences several times. The weather has cleared today, hasn't it. Yesterday it rained pretty hard. Tomorrow it is supposed to clear up. Where are you staying tonight? Where are you from? And from here she looped back to The weather has cleared today, hasn't it. And continued until the next loop started again.

She wasn't talking to herself because she waited for me to answer after each statement/question, during each of the loops.

I wonder what a life like that would be like. Where the only thing that matters is yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's weather, and where the henro who happens to pass through your compound on that day is spending the night. When life slows down to the speed of your saw. I think I lead a pretty simple life but hers makes mine look incredibly complex.

Some pictures from today.

The power stones that bring the kami (gods) down to ensure this field's crops are prosperous

Here's how they grow at least some of their mushrooms in Japan. They stack up wood in hot & humid forests and the mushrooms grow on the logs.

I head for Uwajima tomorrow to meet a friend, who will walk with me through May 2..Wil arrive in Matsuyama on the 3rd. Then all that's left is the walk along the top of the island.

The schedule is still tight but it's looking better with each day of 30km under the boots. Especially if today's good weather holds.

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