Loveliness Without End

“Autumn Moon on the Tama River,” Utagawa Hiroshige  (Japan, 1797–1858). From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Whenever the seasons change, it’s a good time to check in with Kenko (1283-1352), the medieval Japanese monk scholar behind one of my favorite books, Essays in Idleness. ”No season is so crowded with events as autumn.” I love his take on the turning leaves, and the darkening atmosphere of autumn:

“Here the autumn moor, in wanton luxuriant growth, is flooded with the heavy fall of dew; insects sing noisily; and the water in the pipes flows with a soothing sound. The clouds seem to gather and disperse more rapidly than in the sky of the capital, the moon to wear a more variable complexion.”

Kenko adds:

“The autumn moon is loveliness without end. Nobody is more pitiable than a man who cannot see the difference, and thinks the moon is the same at all times.”

“Autumn Ivy,” Ogata Kenzan  (Japan, 1663–1743). From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.