Fukuoka Suburb

I alighted the train at Imakju Station. My intended destination lay a short walk away. This short walk lead me through a peaceful suburb. I felt odd. As if my movement was not the same, or the world I had been inhabiting for 25 years had suddenly changed. I sometimes experience moments of peace. Most of them early morning or post coital. This Fukuoka suburb had brought me to a concord with my surroundings. I drifted into a state much like hypnagogia. A sudden feeling of the preternatural. Worlds’ melded and the air slipped silently over the grey walls of the modest grey houses I passed as I walked along the neat roads. The same breeze revisiting to rustle the leaves in the elegant gardens nurtured by each house. Each courtyard microcosm interacting effortlessly with it’s milieu. The deep green pine trees sprawled into the light greys of the walls, collaborating, creating a deep and pervasive sense of intimacy. All things together, in their place. All ready to change. All ready to stay the same.

I wandered along these clean streets until I became aware of a pine forest. As I walked towards the entrance I noticed a temple behind me. I payed my respects, turned back around and continued walking. This sense of immense unreality only grew as I wandered on into hallowed ground. I increasingly began to feels as if I was being watched. Looking around to make sure I was not about to meet my demise, I saw them. Large crows in the trees. Fluttering between branches. Undoubtedly tracking my movement along the path.

One of the most ancient figures in Japanese mythology are the Tengu, Crow Tengu being the first kind. They are mischievous protectors of the Dharma. Thought to be able to shape-shift as well as invade peoples dreams.

Their gaze made felt as if they were in an alliance with the evergreens. Keeping a watchful eye on intruders. A breeze was rustling the needles, gesturing, nudging me in the same direction that the crows were leaping. I eventually came to a large gate with bells along the top. They swung in the breeze. Both wishing me farewell and broadcasting my departure to the gods so that they could descend the trees unseen.

A sandy beach lay between the pine trees and the ocean. The crows making their way up and down the perimeter. Their discordant calls, capricious interludes between the bleeding harmonies of land and sea. I sat for sometime on the point at which the vines succumbed to the sand. I can still hear everything. I can still feel the presence of the fisherman who sat nearby. His rod propped up beside him, the line reeled in and yet to be recast.