Lighting up our lives - evening light at Nikko

When the human world seems full of ugliness and my mood is dark, I find it helps to look to the light - our gift from the sun, the source of our energy and life on earth.  "Lit up" is a way of describing the feeling of being energised and encouraged, and that is my experience.

It is very easy to be reminded that life on this planet is about much more than us - wherever we are, we can just look around and see, if we dare.  But human folly means that we keep making so many lives (human and other) miserable despite having this wonderful planet as our home, we keep causing suffering through the harm we do to each other and to our environment.  The earth offers us so many opportunities for awe, delight, fascination, curiosity, discovery, pleasure, and creativity - just from being here.  If we regularly take these opportunities we might find a much more life affirming perspective than the current world mood seems to be.

On my recent visit to Nikko I enjoyed one of these dramatic moments - an opportunity for delight.  I emerged from Rinno-ji (a temple with a beautiful garden) to see the trees on the hills beyond lit up by the early evening light.

And in front of me was a golden Japanese maple, framed by pine and cryptomeria (I think), their leaves sparkling and glowing, backlit by the low rays of the setting sun.  A gorgeous arresting sight.  Thank you!