helping hand

Winter: Orange, Blood, and Pride

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

The calendar now tells me it is winter.  Only two days ago the temperature peaked at 20 degrees celsius, however, the Creator must have looked at the calendar too because the temperature dipped down to 4 degrees celsius last night.  I am up and out of my house the earliest on Friday, which is a good thing.  It is like the sooner I can get my day over with, the sooner I can sit back and be thankful for the allotted time of the Sabbath.

I have to journey out to the boonies of Chiba prefecture, which entails using a train and a local bus.  On rainy days, like today, the bus is always jammed pack.  Today it was especially packed with junior high school students.  They are certainly a noisy bunch.  I got on the bus a bit late, but luckily I could find a seat.  Usually, I am in the back of the bus, today I was in the front sitting in the section that is reserved for elderly, moms, injured and the like.  After I took my seat an elderly man and woman also got on the bus.  I got up, tapped the elderly woman on the shoulder, and offered up my seat.  She, being the polite Japanese woman didn’t want to accept the seat, saying that she was going to get off the bus soon.  Eventually after some back and forth pleading, she took the seat.  I was amazed, but not surprised that none of the kids offered up their seats to the the elderly gentleman.  They all absorbed themselves with studying, or staring into their cellphones.  Quite a lack of respect for their elders.  It was me, the gaijin (foreigner) that set the example, that was ignored by the youth.

After taking care of what I needed to do for the day in Chiba I always take a leisurely walk back to the station to unwind, and to begin my mediations on the Sabbath.  It is the time to change those gears that grind away in my mind, and let them start to ease into a mode where I am able to give thanks, and recoup my mind, body and spirit.  The wind was whipping around my scarf as I wandered down the backstreets.  My eyes taking it all in.  I am on the lookout for that next perfect square to shoot.  I am amazed at how many flowers are still in bloom.  I am not sure if it is because of the late warm weather, or it is just that I never really pains close attention to the changing seasons and the changes in the blossoms that it brings.

Since returning to Japan post the March 11th earthquake disasters, I have been much more in tune with the seasons.  I notice how the blossoms hit their peak one week, then the next begin to whiter away, or change into green fruit.  I am thoroughly enjoying watching the seasons change.  I am fascinated in catching those changes with my camera.  The images are a visual diary of the intersection of my world with the the natural world.

As I continued on I came across an elderly man and woman.  The man had fallen down on the slippery slope and the woman, from what I could gather, was trying to help him.  The mans hand had gotten beaten up and was bleeding.  The woman to had blood on her hand from trying to help the gentleman.  I took the man by the arm and helped get him to his feet.  I rummaged though by bag and found a pack of tissues I had been handed at the station sometime before.  The man just kind of stumbled off. He pretty much refused our help.  The last thing the woman said to me was he probably was drunk.

I am thankful for these vignettes in disguise as life’s lessons.  They are the 24 frames per second that make up our lives.  I am thankful to pause and ponder my place in it all.  If I had taken another way back to the station, I would have missed the man that had fallen, yet I was pulled in that direction.

We should all take the time to respect our elders.  They have been here before us.  They have stories etched into the lines on their faces.  It is just one more piece of the life puzzle that I am thankful for.

May you all enjoy a beautiful day of rest.  Enjoy the time given to regenerate the spirit.

Three Triumphant Orange Winter

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