The Kyoto sun is up but the customarily flush streets are bare save for a rank of jostling teens. They are returning home after a night of gaming, a popular hobby among the youth. A street sweeper finishes his shift. A jogger crosses a green traffic light. The city is still sleeping, but through a dim gate a figure in all white kneels at work. His hands are method, shaving a patch of moss deliberately with a sickle.
This is Honen-In Temple and it's keeper.
Within the walled garden there is a stillness. A stillness that is not simply quiet, though the reprieve from camera clicks is welcome, and certainly not alone for even the walls climb with life. There is a stillness that rises from the place itself. So much time has passed in this place. So much thought and care and stillness were imbued into these stones. The 40 year old oak is only now the right size for its space. What did the gardener who planted that tree think as he sunk his spade into a future beyond him? What propels the current guardian's devotion, still inches from earth now weeding?