熊野古道 Kumano Kodō: 夫婦杉 Meoto-Sugi Husband and Wife Cedar Trees – Haibun and Photo

mother and father

with my feet on your dark path

i’ve become your child

夫婦杉 Meoto-Sugi is a pair of 800-year-old towering 杉 cedar trees known as Husband and Wife at the entrance of the 熊野古道 Kumano Kodo's 大門坂 Daimon-zaka, Large Gate Slope.

夫婦杉 Meoto-Sugi is a pair of 800-year-old towering 杉 cedar trees known as Husband and Wife at the entrance of the 熊野古道 Kumano Kodo’s 大門坂 Daimon-zaka, Large Gate Slope. Legend says their roots beneath the earth between them are intertwined as if the two were holding each other’s hands.

Passing between the two is like entering the womb of Mother Nature herself, as I transitioned from outer light into the inner darkness and embarked upon the 2000-foot-long cobblestone path built centuries ago when nature-worshiping pilgrims hiking the slope to Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine was at its height.

Silence enveloped me along with the scent of ancient cedar trees, cryptomeria japonica, wet with the light rain that had drizzled playfully earlier that morning. Light barely flickered from the canopy above as standing silently gazing in awe at cedar and camphor trees, and bamboo groves dissolved awareness of anything but nature and I, dissolving even that – there was no I, only nature as myself, myself as nature – 自然 shizen.

now I know why

the Buddha touched the earth

this is of myself

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