Psychological Transit Notes, Across Japan
There was one of the perfect silences in the 100-Meter Gallery of Odawara Art Foundation. You know, the considered kind that includes a faint hum of air condition running at its lowest setting. There was no movement of air. This is what can be learned from the Japanese: Silence. The silence of deferring to the dao of all things, while doing what has to be done by playing one’s part, elegantly. The silence of recognizing each thing’s and each being’s part. The silence of doing nothing when all is done.
Watching the slim, immaculate fingers of the JR East clerk fly over a landscape of unlabeled, but color-coded hardware keys, each press producing the kind of satisfying mechanical click keyboard afficionados have been paying substantial sums for, I wonder whether his fingertips have already flipped open to reveal a set of spidery steel rods, inputting data with superhuman speed and precision. The clerk is wearing a short-sleeved grey button down, embroidered with the vaguely brutalist JR logo. His physiogonomy, attention and complete being could not be more focused. Around him, an assortment of laminated scraps of paper, highlighted katakana phrases, flyers and maps is taped into a Monet-esque array of tranquil color. The dynamic silence of faint office sounds surrounds us.
Everything is permanently going down. The only thing left for us to care about is how we and every thing goes down. This is why leaving small stone mounds along the hiking trail matters. This is why making good rice bowls matters. This is why optimizing your CSS grid matters. Matters of grace are actually this: matter. It’s in defiance of the universe that we apply attention and care to small things. It’s a gesture, and gestures are all we have. Put care and love into every move, in defiance of your insignificance. Create matter by claiming it emphatically and carefully. (On mossy rocks halfway between Hongu-Taisha and Yunomine-Onsen)
You look so grim, Craig said.