|Image via here|
"Autumn is best at dusk as the hills, now in the full direct sunlight, seem quite closer, and as crows fly away from ones vantage point into their nesting places in threes, then in fours, then in pairs; how moving it is, this combination of light and darkness. It is more wonderful even when geese and the like, in formation, fly away and become specks in the sky. The sun finally sets, and then it is the sound of the wind, and the chirping of insects."This is an excerpt from The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon (966-1017). She said autumn is best at dusk about a thousand years ago. Some of you could relate to this scenery in spite of the time and place difference. Do you share her ideas about the best time of day in atutumn?
One of my favorite sunset scenes is at Todai-ji Nigatsu-do Hall. The contrast of light and darkness: while the sky remains bright and blue, the darkness is fallen on the ground.
From an hour before sunset till the last light fades, the sky is noisy with the calling of crows in one place and bulbuls in another heading for the same direction respectively. On the earth, deer are feeding heavily.
In autumn, I prefer daytime to go out to get fun and sun, though dusk is a good time for me all the year around. Here In Nara City, it is hazy in the autumn afternoon even on a sunny day. I miss and long for bright skies...., but to take it positive, I must be content feeling myself embraced by the soft and gentle atmosphere of the misty city where groves, time-honored temples and shrines give off tender sentiments.
|Sei Shonagon drawn in 17th Century|
It is an essay full of aesthetically pleasing/displeasing and delightful/undelightful images and ideas. The tone is light and witty expressing Sei Shonagon's own ideal of amusement or delight. I've just started reading and it is interesting to find out what an intelligent court lady of a thousand years ago had in her mind.
Sei Shonagon wrote about other seasons as follows:
"In spring, the dawn - when the slowly paling mountain rim is tinged with red, and wisps of faintly crimson-purple cloud float in the sky.
In summer, the night - moonlit nights, of course, but also at the dark of the moon, it's beautiful when fireflies are dancing everywhere in a mazy flight. And It's delightful too to see just one or two fly through the darkenss, glowing softly. Rain falling on a summer night is also lovely."
"In winter, the time of early morning prayer - if snow is falling, of course, it's unutterably delightful, but it's perfect too if there's a pure white frost, or even just when it's very cold , and they hasten to build up the fires in the braziers and carry in fresh charcoal. But it's unpleasant, as the day draws on and the air grows warmer, how the brazie fire dies down to white ash."