winter calm

During the Lunar New Year, I accidentally found a used copy of a poetry book by the Japanese Buddhist monk Ryōkan and I haven't been anywhere without it since. I've been reading it while on my lunch breaks and every time I need a quiet space. It's so simple and yet so very true that I often find myself catching my breath at his vivid imagery.

They remind me of these stunning winter images by Joël Tettamanti that I thought I should share with you some of his photographs, along with my favorite verses by Ryōkan. I especially love the pops of color against the snowy white in these photos.

My closest friends are the mountains and rivers,
Clouds swallow up my shadow as I walk along,
When I sit on the cliffs, birds soar overhead.
Wearing snowy straw sandals, I visit cold villages.
Go as deep as you can into life,
And you will be able to let go of even blossoms.

The rain stops but the eaves drip and drip.
Perfect this moment -
In the vast emptiness, my understanding deepens.

The wind gives me
Enough fallen leaves
To make a fire.

All images by Joël Tettamanti. You can see more of his work here.
Verses from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryōkan, translated by John Stevens.


  1. where is this beautiful place? i think i want to go there! :)

  2. Great imagery in words and photos. Beautifully done.

  3. neehu, these photos were taken in greenland and japan.

    christine, thank you. i'm glad you liked it.

  4. Greenland. *groans with agony* I have been yearning to go there for SO LONG.

    that line about letting go of blossoms reminded me of this li-young lee poem. (which i think is in the volume i lent you, actually.)

  5. Wow.. I love all that snow and those cute little spots of reds and greens! :) adorable houses! Gorgeous landscape!

  6. i LOVE this post odessa!