It’ll All Make Sense One Day

ON SATURDAY MORNING, I ride my bike to the station through the crisp, bright streets of Osaka, Japan.

How good the fresh air feels coursing through my body. My legs push — the muscles work and the blood pumps as they press up the hill; as I coast back down a side street beside a park, the wind blows in my face and through my hair.

It makes me feel alive and well.

On the train, I look upon the hills in the distance. They touch the edge of the interspersed cities, rising and falling for as far as the eyes can see.

The beauty of the golden skyline makes me feel something like hope; it’s morning. The sky is sunny and blue. No matter what we’ve been through, here we stand, for the morning’s come again.

It’s warm; it’s cold; this is life.

When will it all make sense?

I don’t know. Has anything ever been truly, perfectly clear?

One day with time, perhaps we’ll be able to see how that season — that step, that loss, that hurt, that joy, that moment — led us to where we are.

I’m happy where I am, looking at the glorious sky, feeling a breath of cold, clean air. So then, it’s all happened for a reason.

Moonlight. Osaka, Japan
Moonlight. Osaka, Japan

Perhaps with time, we simply learn to understand, and that’s what makes the morning, this morning, the only morning.

I’m on the train, surrounded by others with their bags packed on the way to the airport. I’m on my way to work.

And fuck, it brings tears to my eyes how beautiful it is.

It’s nearly winter now, and I’ve had moments to appreciate autumn. Today, however, as I walk through Kishiwada in the afternoon, I see the leaves in the alleys close up; I stop to marvel, for they’re so inexplicably red.

When I came to Japan years ago, the thing I found so enamoring was how flowers and plants line the roads. They aren’t perfectly kept, but wild in some places and maintained elsewhere.

This creates the distinct wabi-sabi aesthetic — perfectly imperfect, rustic and earthy, the natural entwining with the artificial.

In a deep sense, this philosophy encapsulates the history of Japan, represented in the way a brilliant red leaf falls upon a grey concrete street.

Some are purple, crimson, cherry red, the color of burning maple syrup; the colors stir me up inside. Kishiwada was one of the first cities I came to as a substitute teacher early on. I wrote a story about flowers.

Now it’s cold and the teachers know me and I’m giving Christmas lessons.

“How beautiful life is, and how sad,” goes a quote from one of my favorite books, Shogun, by James Clavell.

“How fleeting, with no past and no future, only a limitless now.”

In the evening, I have dinner at a conveyor-belt sushi spot back in Osaka. I leave the restaurant and the street corner’s lit by a lamp, and beyond it, the full, pale yellow moon shines in the dark night sky.

In moments like this, pockets of time which only we experience as individuals, I’m full of an understanding which surpasses what I can convey. I don’t know why; my heart is full.

I dance through the neighborhood beneath the moon.

Life does this. The moments when I overcome my mind, the questioning, the fear, and I listen to the music, and I look up at the moon, and I just want to dance to express the gratitude, the joy, the life I feel inside.

I find peace within myself.

Joy in release, joy in simplicity.

Joy in the bundle of bikes outside the Family Mart and joy in the cold and joy, always, always joy, from the music in my ears.

Joy in me.

It’ll all make sense one day. But perhaps it doesn’t have to.

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