Lights in the Forest
On a Nara summer afternoon walking the paths of 春日大社 (Kasuga Taisha) brings one relief from the heat and sunlight.
As a boy I enjoyed reading my mother’s ikebana books while she created simple, elegant arrangements. It was difficult to imagine that something so beautiful could arise from the newspapers and greenery covering the kitchen table. One book had a chapter on placing 燈籠 (stone lanterns) in a garden and I constantly asked for a lantern.
The paths and grounds of Kasuga Taisha are lined with hundreds of lanterns; the work of masons over centuries. Seeing them with lights flickering inside is an experience beyond words.