Friday, May 09, 2008

On Gold Rails (pt 1)

Flowers of white were beginning to climb the trellis, emitting the scent of jasmine which has since overtaken all the rooms in the house. The hills ringing the valley were alive with color. Spring had settled in, and it was time to hit the deep mountains.

But first, a test run. It was a Tuesday, recently politicized as Showa Day, but will forever be Green Day to me. Into the green of the day we went, walking an old train line along and through the hills above Takarazuka. The rails led us along a river dense with picnickers, setting their tarps and tents on the uncomfortable stones of both banks. (A bank holiday?) The middle reaches of the river here grew wild, white taffy pulled between the huge boulders still hanging on despite inevitability. We'd passed through a couple of tunnels, but along this stretch they'd grown longer, taking up to 10 minutes to reach the arch of sunlight at the far end. We'd brought a torch to keep our feet from tangling in any obstructions on the uneven floors, but I spent a good part of the time training the beam on the smooth stone walls, looking for the tiny bats that I'd heard slumber here. Quite often we'd kill the light and stand still and breathe, engulfed by the dark and the silence and the lack of any sensory cues but the cool damp air. The other people we'd pass didn't seem so comfortable with this loss of bearings, chatting nervously until their giggles were lost in the dark behind us. And we'd too move along, passing from the black to the grey and through all the spectral colors finally settling on green, with the sound of our footfalls beginning to grow in pitch until lost to the roar of the rapids below.

On the turntable: Dizzy Gillespie, "To Bird with Love"

On the nighttable: Brian Daizen Victoria, "Zen at War"

On the reel table: "Cafe Lumiere" (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2003)

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