The Road.

Happy, loved, joyful, walking down the road, the sun high in the sky, shadows of clouds flowing over the landscape.

Driving.

I’m exhausted. Have been for ages. I honestly don’t know how I make it through the days. I just keep at it, day in, day out. I’m like a robot, just fulfilling my programming. I can’t not continue. It’s Friday, I’ll have a couple days to recharge before heading into the fray again.

In my exhausted state, as I drive, I feel a pain in my head. I cock my head to one side in an attempt to vanquish the pain while still keeping the car on the road. As I do so, I drift off slightly. This road, this drive, it’s all automatic, my mind uses the idle cycles to show me something new.

Continue reading The Road.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #37 The Giant Zelkova of Atago Shrine

#37 The Giant Zelkova of Atago Shrine
It’s a very shady place, here, in the summer. In winter it would be much more open, less claustrophobic.

Number: 37
Name: The Giant Zelkova of Atago Shrine (愛宕神社のケヤキ)
Type: Zelkowa serrata
Height: 16m
Trunk Circumference: 7.0m
Age: 633 years
Location: 栃木県小山市宮本町1丁目 (36° 18′ 47″N 139° 47′ 59″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-7-28

#37 The Giant Zelkova of Atago Shrine
It’s a very simple shrine.

In Kouryaku 1 (康暦元年, 1379 CE [but this is a Northern/Southern Period thing, so if you prefer the Southern Court in this period because they were in possession of the regalia, this year may make you ragey, but do get over it, yes?]) Oyama Yoshimasa (小山義政), who was then the ruler of Shimotsuke Province, established Atago Shrine to pray for the safety of his people and for good harvests. It is said that the Sacred Tree which was planted at that time is this tree.

#37 The Giant Zelkova of Atago Shrine
You can see the cap there where the fire-damaged upper trunk was cut off.

There’s a bit of damage near the top that’s been capped off with steel. This seems to have happened in a large fire in Taisho 2 (大正2年, 1913 CE). The entire top burned off, and all the growth above it is due to the branching that happened after that.

Here in Miyamoto-cho and also in Hongo-cho there are Atago Shrines, and both of them have giant zelkovas.