BEGINNING AUTUMN, BEGINNING DAOKU

Well, my morning glory vine has begun blooming, and that is always a sign that summer is ending, and we are about to enter the downturn of the Wheel of the Year into the beginning of Autumn.

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As long-time readers here know, every year at this time I like to post a quote from Natalie Babbitt’s bittersweet children’s book Tuck Everlasting:

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.  The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn.”

By the Hokku Calendar, August 1st is the beginning of Autumn.  It is the old festival of Lammas — “Harvest Home.”  It is the halfway point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.  And as I have written before, that does not mean the hot weather is over; it just means the Wheel of the Year has turned, and now the Yang energy — the active, warm energy — will increasingly wane as Yin energy — the passive and cool energy — grows, though the effects will likely not be really noticeable for about a month.  Except, of course, to those like me, who notice the signs of change in the plants and in the air.

Yesterday I talked about impermanence. Autumn is a season in which impermanence is clearly seen. So now we must prepare ourselves, as summer is coming to an end, for the arrival of autumn, a season filled with the sense of things passing and aging and changing, and thus filled with the spirit of hokku and so also of that particular category called daoku, that is, objective hokku.

As I have mentioned before, to me daoku is hokku at its purest. It is free of commentary and opinion, free of ego and self-importance. So this autumn, I want to shift the focus of my ongoing discussion of hokku to that of daoku as its deepest expression. It is Nature and the place of humans within and as a part of Nature, expressed with a spirit of poverty, simplicity, and selflessness.

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