Gods in the Mountains

“Gods are created in the country; people are made in big cities.”

-Awa Kenzo. “Zen Bow, Zen Arrow”. Pg 47.

Welcome back to everyone who’s returning home after Golden Week in Japan. Hope you all had great journeys or relaxations over the time, and are hopefully putting off thinking about tomorrow … until tomorrow.

Or if you worked all week, then you are deserving of a big お疲れ様!

Or if you live outside of Japan and have no idea what I’m talking about, then it’s probably just another Wednesday night for you.

All the same, I just came back from Toyama, land of plentiful mountains, and this quote by Awa Kenzo popped into my head more than a few times.

Except in my mind it went something more like this:

Gods are made in the mountains, people are made in town.”

I think of mine more now, so I like it better, but I think Mr. Awa was feeling the same thing as me.

I can stare at mountains, and while all worries fall away I’m propelled by a mysterious imaginative force upwards. Snow capped peaks, normal people don’t go there. Nowadays just about anyone can, and many do, but most don’t. Not many know the names of all the mountains. Not many understand the vision we gain from looking down from their peaks, nor the worth of the strain made to climb.

Where I live in Oita now, there are many mountains, many wonderful magical mountains, but they don’t have the majesty that rings like the Northern Alps. I learned how to wander and win in the mountains, and so I learned how to shoot the bow in the mountains. It is for the mountain gods I shoot now, and I know I will return again before the end. Perhaps there is a resting spot for me in the peaks.

Hawks calling on bone trees.

Fierce, strict look the mountain faces from town.

On tops crunching about pebbles, the gods give warm embrace.

We’re all good friends if we show ourselves honestly.

On top of mountains, before the target, and before you.

Onward and upward.


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