"Doesn’t everyone know that camellias are red? Of course, but it is the haiku poet's peculiar gift to be startled by the familiar - to be jolted by it into a state of poetry. The distinction is not between knowing and not knowing, but between knowing and experiencing. If a poem can impart the experience, as opposed to mere information, it is a success, and its brevity and simplicity do it no discredit.
Here Japanese has a distinct advantage over English. English is hard pressed to convey the poetic ambiguity, so natural in Japanese, as to, for example, what the subject of a sentence might be. The camellia poem, eight words long in English, has four words in Japanese, and 'I' is not one of them. That could be you looking back at the camellia, or it could be some third party; it could be all of us together. For that matter, there is no certainty it is the camellia that is being looked back at. Grammatically speaking, it could be the red camellia looking back - at you, perhaps. All this bears on the distinction beteween knowing, which is precise and logical but abstract, and experiencing, which is concrete but inconclusive."
A serene Sunday morning image . . . not overtly religious, still, it was taken at the Zen Buddhist temple of Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto . . . (for some reason, as far as religious images go, I've taken almost exclusively Buddhist and Catholic pix. Very little Baptist or Presbyterian stuff. Actually, you could say, non-existent.)
I was jogging towards a Mt. Tamalpais/rainbow view just off of Highway 101 (much as Galen Rowell jogged to get his Potala Palace rainbow shot) when these roosters scattered at my approach. Alas, this was not to be an Ansel Adams moment—the roosters turned out to be more picturesque than the rather feeble rainbow that I ended up with.
Well, the phoebes are back. They moved their nest location over to the neighbor's house for some reason but they are still in our backyard, catching bugs in midflight. Very noisy for being so small. The photo on top (also doing duty as a banner pix) was taken through our living room blinds
(Related: Phoebes were here last year. Phoebe pix taken using a high-end Canon with an 800mm lens.)
Photos: Phoebe—Marin County, 2010; Phoebe—Marin County, 2010