Ferrania Solaris 200, Pentax K1000
As we reached under the winter snow line once more, so the flowers began to appear by the boles of the trees – the cosmos and the gentian, bushes of forsythia, and the first of the lilacs. The sun emerged suddenly from the clouds and beat down on our backs, warming the air in an instant and setting the earth steaming, the steam mingling with the perfume of all the wildflowers that rose in a heady bouquet. Do Yuan stopped and pointed to a mass of cherry blossom in the valley.
‘That is so sad to see,’ he said. His voice was oddly thick with gloom.
I confessed I could see nothing sad in it at all; it looked astonishingly beautiful, and that was all.
‘Ah yes, but soon it will be gone. Another few days, and the branches will be empty again. That is what is so sad, thinking of it going away.’
I had read of Zen sadness at the idea of nature’s transience. But it seemed pointless. After all, there would soon be leaves in place of the blossoms, and then other flowers would bloom, and then there would be the autumn colors – the books all say the slopes of Naejang-san looked as though they were on fire in early October. Was that not sufficient compensation?
‘No, for all that says is that all beauty is transient. Everything passes by. Even this sadness!’ and he laughed, and thus having cheered me up, carried on slipping and sliding down the hill. – Korea, A Walk Through the Land of Miracles, Simon Winchester