Now, I’m finally standing here on the shore of the lake
To pick up an endless number of small sticks long-left over on the beach
For those small sticks are probably carried far by migrant birds flying all the way from Japan
Those birds actually traveled far with their small sticks in their beaks, unbelievably 8000 km
While I traveled the same mileage comfortably in a plane
Paying heartfelt respect to those tiny lives,
I’ll pick up those tiny pieces of wood one by one
as a remainder
In Northern Japan, they traditionally believe in the legend that goes:
Migrant birds usually start their long journey with small sticks in their beaks,
so that they can take a rest on the stick floating on the waves.
After coming ashore, they leave their sticks on the seaside and roam around for months.
When it’s time for them to resume their journey,
they again pick up their sticks and set out for the next destination.
To the regret of local people, they have to face additional number of sticks drifted ashore every day.
They realize those not a few sticks still floating on the waves mean the actual toll of the dead birds that unfortunately lost their lives during their journey. All the local people can do is to collect these sticks and put them on the fire, gathering around the open fire to keep warm,
paying a tribute to the dead.
Whether this legend is simply a make-believe story or not, it doesn’t matter.
Hearing this legend for the first time, I was deeply touched by their inspiring imagination the native people have transferred from generation to generation orally. I can realise their warm eyes watching the migrant birds with deep kinship.
Why people feel kinship with migrant birds?
That’s because man is inherently a lonely traveler.
The morning same as yesterday’s morning never comes, the spring same as last year’s spring never comes.
Even though our daily lives look like a circle of monotonous repetition of same things.
Here, I’ll pick up small sticks left over on the shore,
I’ll launch a boat, an ephemeral raft, mounting piles of sticks,
Hoping it would save every soul of the dead