We were visiting different farms today looking for fresh a seasonal fruits and vegetables. After what seems like months of rain and even an extremely rare snowfall in the Los Angeles area, I’m starting to see signs of Spring. On one of the farms I saw these almond blossoms and immediately thought of my favorite place, Japan. Specifically, I was thinking about Kyoto and the blossoms I was remembering where cherry ones.
I longed for Kyoto and desired to pack some bags and go spend a month there entirely by myself as a form of short sabbatical. A month of no electronic communication with anyone. I won’t deny that it is fascinating to have the ability to broadcast your travel adventures in realtime and be a spectator in someone else’s. However, there is a certain romance and appeal of travel in the mid twentieth century where a trip meant your only means of communication back home were through postcards or chorded telephone at your hotel. Documenting your travels meant writing in a journal and photographing on film. Sharing your adventures had to be done in person and involved some storytelling.
To quench my wanderlust, I was watching some videos on YouTube–the only social media platform I’m allowing myself during Lent. I was struck by one video in particular where the YouTuber was going to the Fushimi Inari shrine at night after having been there over a dozen times during the day. It brought back wonderful memories of my first visit to Kyoto when I was by myself and reached Fushimi Inari far later than I had planned. Determined to explore the shrine despite the late hour I made my way up the mountain guided in the darkness and solitude under thousands or torii gates. After about an hour and a half I gave up on reaching the top of the mountain as the a light rain continued to fall and crows cawed from the pitch black forest flanking the path.