Mt. Horaiji Hike

You explained during our hike that Ieyasu Tokugawa’s
mother had prayed for a boy here. I was still breathless
from the climbing and stinging from the old Shinto priest’s
glare. Black and green moss followed a tiny creek down a jagged ravine. At the bottom of the ancient wooden stairs a stone basin awaited our hand washing.

Purified, we climb the steps to the cedar building that
holds the shrine’s altar. Beside the altar a frayed hemp rope
a foot thick encircles a massive Japanese oak. Kami, or
spirits, are said to reside here. It is peaceful despite the
bitterness in my mouth.

cold mountain temple
pine trees grow precariously
snow on iced winter peaks

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