Wednesday, February 9, 2011

cold cloudless morning

cold cloudless morning –
Fujisan red veiled in white –-
fire sleeping inside
One of my favorite prints by Hokusai, Hodogaya on the Tokaido Road, is often called “Red Fuji.” I used to think the artist took liberty with the color of the mountain. But when I first saw Fujisan on a cold, cloudless morning, red veiled in white, I realized that red is the mountain’s true color. Hiking on the mountain, I slogged through loose brick-red volcanic rock. The frothy scoria looks like little dark red sponges. The red is due to weathering of the basalt layer, which was most recently laid down 10,000 years ago. Fujisan last erupted in 1707-08, so she is not considered an active volcano. But in Japan, nothing is certain.

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