On Saturday 15th, high on Mt. Ogura, he felled five dead pines, dragging each in turn to a timber pool, where he stripped off the branches and dissected the trunks for later removal from the mountain. Pine disease is rife. Two days later, as chance would have it, some tourists spied him high in the branches of an olive tree very near Saga Arashiyama Station, picking a bag of ripe black fruit from precarious branches almost out of reach. The process of pickling them in brine was begun. Tuesday saw him moving through the branches of a fragrant olive (kinmokusei) outside his own bedroom window, pruning the tree severely to let in the light and to rid himself of the pair of mountain pigeons that had recently been roosting there and waking him up with fervent cooing at crack of dawn. On Wednesday, paints were prepared and white card was cut and decorated in preparation for the transcription of poems with which to celebrate a distant special tree. Then Saturday again, and with two ladders and a dozen other hands, he hung people’s haiku and wishes on the fairy pine tree he’d found (with a squirrel) presiding over Teika’s Vale. This tree had demanded attention, seeming to be drawing about itself the backdrop of the Kitayama hills and autumn-hued Atago to set its own self off. Finally, last Sunday, blessed with fine weather, fifty or so people – including that man – congregated near the Ogura summit to hear poems, compose their own verse, and then inscribe them on the card tags that had been offered to guests. Another vigorous pine with branches to spare was then dressed. After all had gone home, heavy rain fell that night and a wind blew. But for a short while longer, it is said, the fairy tree will bear those fading, ragged poems … and the man will stay on earth.
…The pines and the cedars
……Are praised by the wind