Contemplating the snow

The snow arrived early last evening and continued into the early morning hours, then turned into icy pellets. It’s colder than usual here and I know it’s an inconvenience for many. I also know, it isn’t really a unique event and for those in colder climes, it just brings misery. While I know and understand that, there’s another perspective that has strong appeal – if only briefly. It’s one the weatherman spoke of this morning, the stillness. It has brought the area to a standstill and it is quiet.

Depending on the severity, it does force us to stop, even for a moment, and maybe even to look. The looking and contemplation of that fleeting beauty is what the Japanese term Yukimi (雪見)or snow viewing (as opposed to flower viewing). It’s an old activity, probably dating back to the Edo period. It was more than likely an indoor activity – a small party for the nobility – some time spent admiring the courtyard garden and having tea and sweet cakes. Some might also consider an outdoor stroll in a larger garden nearby or surrounding the castle grounds.

Today, one well-known place for Yukimi is the Kenroku-en in Kanazawa. There a person can not only observe the snow-covered garden but the architecture created to protect the trees and plants from the heavy snows. One can stroll through the grounds, but the more comfortable way might be indoors, from the teahouse, looking through the yukimi shōji – the lattice framed sliding doors with a small glass portion incorporated for that purpose.

At this point, I’m just as happy to do my yukimi from the kitchen. I may settle for a cup of hot chocolate and cookie, then gaze out the window to the backyard.

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One Response to “Contemplating the snow”

  1. neki rivera Says:

    interesting, those shortened words in japanese .
    and kenroku- en.. so beautiful so elegant .

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