Heian Jingu (Heian Shrine) ( A-112)
“Cherry trees surrounded the pond, low, bent branches spreading out above me, low enough to touch as I walked beneath them. Blossoms hung in huge clusters from the black austerity of the branches like a mass of pink sea shells spread over a reef. A sudden breeze caught the tips of the branches, and they bent gracefully in a rustle of blossoms. Then the great widespread branches themselves began to sway with an easy grandeur sending pink petals into the silken air. They spun and swirled, dropped like snow on the shrubs and moss, floated like fairy dust on the pond, capped the stone lantern in pink luminescence. I could feel petals landing on my hair, a touch no heavier than feathers, and see them settling on my arms and upturned hands. I turned my face up into the sky and let them light on my skin. My mind spread out like a fan. My heart slowed and numbed and seemed to grow until it pressed against my chest. My back seemed to straighten and relax, and I was aware that my body felt whole and at peace with itself. For the first time that I could remember, there were no little aches or pains.
Blossoms caressing my face.
I felt a safe child’s sudden and simple, light-less peace, and almost forgot the photographic anxieties I had felt all day.”
- William Corey