Japanese people love their trees and I love watching them enjoy their trees. This time of year is my favourite back home. Autumn in Japan is the time of the change of leaves, when the colours turn from green to red and yellow and orange. People have their favourite spots, either out of the city or in Yoyogi Park, and they drive there at weekends to drink in the autumn colours and to mark another season’s passing.
Red and yellow and orange as descriptions don’t even begin to do the spectacle justice. The oranges are burnished coppers, the yellows are really a thousand shades of ochre, while the reds glow like the embers of the fire that once fuelled summer’s heat.
An old couple come into the park near to where I am reading, she wears a face mask, he is in a powered wheelchair. He rolls himself into position in front of the lake and she prepares to take his picture, as I wonder if he is sick, if perhaps he thinks it will be his last chance to enjoy autumn in Japan.
I am sitting behind where she is standing and as I glance up – thinking should I offer to take one of them together or would that spoil it – I see him look at her with such love in his eyes and a beautiful smile for her picture that my heart stretches in a way that would break it into a million pieces, were it not for the agility exercises it has been performing over the last few weeks, since we walked in this park at the end of a late summer’s day.
Picture of Yoyogi Park by me