An imaginative evocation of Basho's Journey to a Far Province through my daughter's marathon walk down the length of the U.K. from northern Scotland to Land's End, Britain.
The landscape photograph below depicts the rural trail, at the left, followed by my daughter as it rises to a broad field above a vale. A village is nestled among the trees along the small river, which is out of sight. Farming fields with hedge rows or other boundary vegetation are plotted in the distance.
In the center foreground at the edge of the field is, as I read the image, the real center of interest--three benches. I am sure my daughter felt called to the benches for rest and relaxation and the opportunity to enjoy the serene pastoral view.
For me the photograph is complex, constituting a montage of smaller, simpler photographs. I cannot read the original photograph as shot in terms of Basho's poetic journey; so I have broken it into its constituent images. I will try reading each of these sections in Basho and adding appropriate interpretive text later. Click on the image for a full-size (500 pixel wide) photo in a popup window.
Original Image as Shot by My Daughter
Constituent Images (for study only, in no special order)
"We bathed in the waters of Yamanaka's hot springs. In curative powers they are second only, people say, to the hot springs at Ariake.
Yamanaka's waters be
Better than chrysanthemums
The proprietor of our inn, still a youth, was called Kumenosuke. His father is said to have been very fond of poetry, and the story is told here of how a young, aspiring poet from Kyoto was so humiliated by the innkeeper's superior poetic ability that when he returned to Kyoto he took lessons in composition from Teitoku, and went on to become the celebrated poet we know at Teishitsu. When famous and much sought after, Teishitsu would never accept payment, people say, from these villagers for criticism or correction of their poetry."
The Road to Eihei-ji
"Walking about three and a half miles towards the hills, I visited Eihei-ji. This temple was founded by the Zen Priest Dogen. I believe he had some noble reason for establishing his temple so deep in the hills and well outside the 'Thousand Li Radius' of the capital, Kyoto."
11. (Enlarged image only 393 pixels wide.)
"A poem composed on the way:
How hot the sun glows,
Pretending not to notice
An autumn wind blows!"
12. (Enlarged image is 600 pixels wide.)
"Bugles calling for them from sad shires."
(Though Wilfred Owen's famous Anthem for Doomed Youth was written as protest against the slaughter of World War I and hints of pacificism in its despair, I think the powerful imagery of the last line of the second stanza is worthy of this moment in English history.)