Travelling with Basho to the high North
I often sit in trains. I dream, I write, and I read. In the past few weeks, I had a small book in my hands, wonderful in its simplicity, like a razor cutting through time. Matsuo Basho wrote it in seventeenth century Japan, after he had left his home for a long journey by foot, in the company of a friend. Reading his short observations, I feel a kinship with a man who wonders at the colours of a field full of flowers, an old mossy tombstone, a monk's hut under a chestnut tree. And as I look out through the window into the broad floating landscape with cattle and birds flying to the South, a river suddenly appears with its waters under me and then slowly turns away. I a traveller on this short daily journey between fixed places and fixed meanings: home, work, work, home. A traveller, yet for this long moment, freely moving in a space that he shares with this older man in his cotton trousers, his bamboo hat and with his heavy rucksack filled with good-bye presents from friends, warm nightclothes, raincoat, writing brush, and inkstone.
Coenen, H. (2003)., Travelling with Basho to the high North, in I. Srubar & S. Vaitkus (eds.), Phänomenologie und soziale Wirklichkeit, Opladen, Leske + Budrich, pp. 199-213.
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