With the coming of the cross-quarter, winter begins. Leaves in artful decay proclaim the changing season. Gone are summer’s limbs heavy with ripened apricot and plum. From the corner of my eye, the persimmon, branches nearly bare, adorned with amarillo bangles and arancia hearts. Floating. Breathtaking in the fading light. I paint; a deep sense of connection between myself and everything. For the moment, I fade away, lost in the act. Later, steady cold rains: the kind we welcome to keep the drought years at bay. Mugs of hot matcha take the edge from chilled hands. In the oven, persimmon cookies bake, the golden taste of connection. (San Francisco) California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.
Legends tell us the heart-shaped Hachiya fondly called kaki was introduced to Japan from China in the 8th century by a wandering Buddhist. The monk traveled Japan subsisting on persimmons spreading seeds “Johnny Appleseed-like” throughout the land. Masaoka Shiki a 19th century Japanese author helped revive waka and haiku poetry and introduced the concept of nature sketching or shashei honored the fruit’s place in Japanese culture with this poem composed while stopped at Nara on his journey to Tokyo:
I bite a persimmon
the bell tolls
In her book Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Jane Hirshfield writes that “every good poem begins in language awake to its own connections….it begins…in the body and mind of concentration….true concentration appears paradoxically at the moment willed effort drops away….the self disappears ….we seem to fall utterly into the object of our attention, or else vanish into attentiveness itself.” Echoing Jane Hirshfield, Phil Lesh lovingly described his life with the Grateful Dead in Searching for the Sound . “We were in the music and the music was playing us. To loose oneself completely in a spontaneous flow of music is one of the great human joys: one is creating, but being created. In fact, one no longer exists. At the same time, there’s a give-and-take a handing off of ideas that mimics the process of thought itself….Bobby and I left holes for each other’s notes, creating an interlocking constantly changing rhythm.”