Crested Butte, Colorado

A mountain

Like a dinosaur tooth

Crested Butte

Crested Butte
Colorado, September 2022

Crested Butte, September 2022

Late in the day, much too late, the wife and I were hiking a short trail outside Crested Butte, past the ghost town of Gothic. The trail marker said half mile to Judd Falls. A Japanese couple returning from the hike to Judd Falls said hello. And in that strange language that people from different cultures try to talk, told us it was getting dark and too far. As we would learn, they were right, the sign was wrong. Judd Falls was much further and darkness fell as we walked.

The hike, the mountain, the golden Aspen, the falls, the friendly Japanese couple, all reminded me of Basho’s many walks.

A fox, no two

Waiting on a path

For who

Gothic, Colorado

Early next morning we rose as the earth awoke.

Clouds part

Like sheets on a bed

As the mountain rises

In an Aspen grove

Fluttering leaves do gossip

I wonder


A flash of lightning in a September cloud, a Zen reflection on the impermanence of life, but to those don’t know, a precious thing to behold.

A flash of lightning
Yet unenlightened,
How noble!
inazuma ni / satoranu hito no / tattosa yo

Matsuo Basho, 1690

Figuratively and Literally

Mid-September, 2022, crossing Kansas along US 160, coming home from Las Vegas, New Mexico. In the Gypsum Hills between Meade and Medicine Lodge, the route featured flat mesas, long canyons and arroyos, red rolling hills, and vast empty stretches with no living beings.

Gypsum Hills, Kansas

As day turned to evening, and evening to darkness, my wife and I were entertained by a show of lightning to the north.

Beautiful,” said my wife.

Inazuma (稲妻, a flash of lightning) ni (with); satora (さとら, enlightened, understanding, one realizes) nu (ぬ, not) hito (人, people, one person) no (の, possessive); tattosa (貴さ, noble and precious).

Yo (よ, yo, indicating certainty).


Matsuo Basho in 1690, at the age of 47 with but three years to live. He had completed his journey of northern Japan, Oku no Hosomichi — How noble and precious, he who doesn’t think, “life is fleeting,” when seeing a flash of lightning.

Our existence in this fleeting world:
A drop of dew in the morning, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, a dream…
Thus spoke Buddha.

Diamond Sutra, Chap. 32
稲妻, a flash of lightning