“What are you going to do once you get settled in after you move here?” my neighbor, Fred, asked a man coming to our forested mountains from Florida.
“Watch the snow fall. Enjoy seeing it snow.”
“But winter can last six months here,” said Fred.
Maybe the newcomer knows something of the art and beauty of the Japanese culture. They appreciate viewing things we Westerners take for granted.
One woman in Kyoto has made a small pavilion in her garden so she has the best view of snow falling. Often she invites friends and they sit in silence, sipping a cup of the special sake brewed exclusively for snow viewing. The sake is beaten up with a raw egg to enhance the look of the land under snow.
This is the same refinement of appreciation they give to moon viewing. In one scene in the movie Shogun (James Clavill’s novel),
Blackthorne is invited to watch the moon come up. His attention will be on the moon, no conversation necessary. Everyone invited to the moon-viewing night will be fully occupied watching how the light falls over the countryside, the play of clouds, the growing light of the night-studded star sky. Japanese homes often have a moon-viewing window.
Wouldn’t you love attending an incense smelling gathering where an expert lights different pieces of wood to give you an appreciation for a new-cut piece of cedar versus one of a piece years old?
This leads me to take time out to mention that we who write must also take time to appreciate the people who read our work. They offer as unique an appreciation of art and beauty and in as creative of a way as if they were “snow” or “moon” watching when they glimpse a bit of the author’s soul beneath their words.
Once you latch onto the concept of simple simplicity, it can bring unexpected depth of daily life. The smallest detail can offer such sweet simplicity.
Perhaps I’ll have a “snow-viewing” party, serve white eggnog and white wine. A moon-viewing gathering wouldn’t work out the same if your home is set too deeply in the woods and there is no window through which to see the moon.