Chapter 7. Pilgrims

On pilgrimage

The Shikoku pilgrimage circles the island with stops at 88 temples. It’s best to walk this road alone, 750 miles. Take all the time you need. The path is already laid out. All you need is a sedge hat, a staff, a bell, a bag of prayers, a white robe, and a soul.

Wandering the Edo Five Routes

I didn’t know what I would find, but knew what I was leaving. For a composer, the right melody comes only when he dedicates his mind to an unrelated task.

Leaving

I am leaving my home, the expectations of others, and the need to earn a living. The living like a crust of bread had become hard and stale. I am leaving with no thought of when I should return. In leaving, I leave everything to see what remains. Only when I leave myself am I truly happy.

Traveling companions

The winds travel and the hours travel. The sun travels by day, and the moon travels by night. The road travels on the landscape and the landscape travels as if unrolling from a scroll. Wherever I travel I always have traveling companions.

Wandering time

Time is not a straight road, but wanders aimlessly. Each turn in its path can show you something beautiful, or unexpected like a stone to stub your toe.

A blessing for the path

At sea a route is abstract with nothing to mark the distance except the stars. Here on this path, however, every pebble, plant, and shadow is a marker, a measure of passing time and extent.

Ancient stones

In place of history— the fort’s ancient stones covered with moss. The famous twin pine had fallen and had been replanted many times. But here a shrine protected by prayers can not be forgotten.