Sunrise to sunset –
Changing clouds never settle –
Except for today –
Listen for winter’s silence –
Listen to the falling snow –
Crack!

– a tanka poem

This photo and poem both were takenĀ from the early winter of Shiga-kogen in Nagano prefecture. The first phrase was inspired by a poem entitled, “Written on the Lake While Return to Stone Cliff Hermitage” by the 4th century Chinese nature poet Hsieh Ling-yun which begins, “Dawn to dusk, the weather constantly changed, mountain and lake sometimes vibrant in sunlight…” as translated by Sam Hamill. The “crack” at the end could really have been any sudden sound word but I chose crack as it felt to be in greatest opposition to the silence of the winter forest. It also felt to best convey the dramatic impact of all those pops, creaks, and snaps that continue to go on in the winter woods and also the breakĀ of satori.

In the tradition of the koan – What is the sound of the winter forest’s silence?