snow muffles the stones
while the taki falls free, always
changing, always there
We wander through a lovely garden behind a large hotel in Oshino, a popular place for weddings in the summer. Now it is quiet and empty. Thick snow muffles the stones and plants like kakebuton stuffed with mulberry silk. The water in the taki murmurs in a primordial tongue as it drops between the boulders overhung with holly and cedar. The large bamboo hishaku resting on the edge of a small pool is an invitation to bend down, wash the hands and rinse the mouth, as one would do before entering a tea house or shrine. However, the coins lining the bottom of the pool signal that this is more of a wishing well than a formal tsukubai. When I sit and listen to the waterfall running freely in the midst of winter over the silver and copper coins, it seems to be ceaselessly babbling, "permanent, impermanent, permanent, impermanent."