Koi gracefully glide beneath green lily pad bees buzz, cloud hides sun
Miyoko went to the park near her house to organize her mind and gain composure before initiating the hours she would spend on her calligraphy. The water of the pond made a soft flapping sound as the wind blew it against the shore. The koi occasionally came to the surface where their colors, from iridescent pearl to dappled orange, dazzled her eyes. The softness of the weather and the differing shades of green rested her. A cherry tree showed incipient promise of blossoms soon to regale their soft spring pink. The gardener made a crutch for the drooping branch of a gnarled ancient tree.
Grass bends in soft breeze fog rolls out gray umbrella foghorn sounds far off
At home, before beginning to work, she checked to make sure her desk was arranged in order. Her Shitajki, the black mat that provided a comfortable soft surface, was weighted down by the Bunhin, the metal stick that held the thin calligraphy paper down. To the right of the Shitajki stood the heavy heavy black ink container and the Sumi, the solid black material she rubbed in water to produce the black ink she would use for writing. Miyoko picked up the large brush she used for her main characters. Many of her fellow calligraphers used a smaller brush to sign their name, but she preferred to use her identity seal. Closing her eyes for a moment, she took a deep breath and began. Unlike the Chinese characters that could be drawn separately, the Japanese characters must be drawn in the correct order. She prepared the brush to make sure there was enough ink to complete the stroke and practiced before beginning in earnest. The brush seemed to fly over the paper, the heavy ink made swirls and dips flowing like the wings of a bird, then a knotted globule that looked like a mistake but soared in an upward slope ending in a graceful split tail. The brush seemed an extension of Miyoko's hand. She knew exactly when to apply pressure for wider strokes or darker color, then as if defying gravity, to lighten, persuading the stroke and ink to last until she raised the brush from the paper. She finished the last stroke, examined her work and felt an inner peace and tranquility.
Shizuko McConathy "Nyo Ze - As Is"
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