a small space
between wit and wonder
left vacant

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ice Dragon & Crystal Palace

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A winter storm affords an opportunity to experience the wonder of nature's ability to transform our world. With the initial 8" - 10" of snow came a layer of ice that bent twelve foot tall bamboo to the ground:

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The red tones of the Japanese Maple shown through ice:

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All sorts of ice sculptures - fleeting marvels, a crystal palace:

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter & Kit's Closet

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Rarely do we come across an idea that stops us in our tracks. The photo above was posted on a Facebook list along with the artist's haiku. Both were so beautiful that I sought permission to post them here as a haiga composition, joining the haiku and image. 

Kit Nagamura lives in Tokyo with her husband and teenage son. She is a long-term columnist for the Japan Times, a fiction editor at Kodansha, Ltd., an art photographer, public speaker in support of Japanese artisans, and a member of the Haiku International Association. 

Through our few messages to one another, I learned that Ms. Nagamura's father designed the Ichimura Japanese Garden in Miami, Florida. His daughter has had a lifetime of close association with his genius, which has helped to fine-tune her senses to the Japanese garden esthetic. Still, this does not account for the inspiration her haiku reveals - a storehouse of lovely imagery. 

Thank you, Kit. You made my day! 

See examples of Kit Nagamura's photos:

See a brief description of the Ichimura-en in Miami:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Window Dressing

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It all depends on perspective. The photo of frost ferns on a windowpane is just about equal parts shadow and light. Most of the shadow tones are toward the warm side of grey. Most of the lighter frost is aqua, but with glints of sunlight warming the edges. We are in a warm place close to the boundary between the warmth inside and the frozen outside. 

For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere it is just the beginning of winter. Yet, the days are growing longer by a minute or more each day. 

We share a virtual cup of hot chocolate, the sensuality of a fine woolen blanket, the surprise of sparks that suddenly crackle in the fireplace.  

Though the plant world is dormant, the force of life insists upon signs of growth such as these frost crystals. Our world is rich with more than mere window dressing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Quiet Esthetic

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Haiku usually have a seasonal theme, but in this case, as a new year begins, the theme is for all seasons. 

The three artisans who created the magnificent Portland Japanese Gardens on a 5.5 acre plot left only this small post cap (approximately 3.5" square) scribed with their mon [crest] to mark their monumental four years of work. The post stands near the poetry stone, which is the singular example of poetry in the entire garden.

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In Japanese, the haiku on the stone by the renowned 20th century haiku poet, Shuoshi Mizuhara (1892-1981) who visited the garden in 1966, reads:

Koko ni kite
Nihon no haru hi
Teru gotoshi

The English translation:

Here, miles from Japan,
I stand as if warmed by the
Spring sunshine of home

May this new year be filled with great works of beauty accomplished with esthetic restraint!