Snow Birds: House Sparrows, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Let’s go snow-viewing
till we’re buried!
Matsuo Basho, 1644 – 1694
House Sparrow males and females are dimorphic: a female is center in this photo, accompanied by three males. This species has adapted so well to life with people, they’ve become nearly ubiquitous in places of human habitation throughout the world – and nearly absent in more natural environments.
Basho suffered from severe bouts of depression, occasionally becoming recluse for long periods of time. A solitary nature took him on a number of journeys, alone, along routes that were often well off the beaten path. The Edo Five Routes which he followed on one of his earliest journeys were considered to be among Japan’s most dangerous roads; When he first embarked on this trek, he expected to be killed by thieves or to simply die along the way. Widely regarded as the world’s finest master of hokku (haiku), his poetic travel log Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Interior) is considered to be his finest work.
Still vision hunter
Transmits Basho’s lineage
From chill northern slopes
Beautiful! Having travelled extensively myself during the 15 years I lived in Japan, I read Basho’s “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” some years ago and loved it. Keep up the beautiful work.
Although I’ve never read any one work by Basho, I continue to dip into his writing… and continue to be amazed by what can be accomplished with just a few words.