Groundless Garden


"There was a black pine here... no, no... it was a spindly tree. It was large and high. Well... where did the black pine grow? Umm... the black pine grew straight up from here surely... and those brambles were swarming with insects. Here was a black pine, and here it is, the same. If I remember right, this has always here. And, here was a Japanese quince, it was low about this high... Oh, there were also gardenias and orchids, and they were painful for me because they had thorns... and there was a fig tree here, and a tall tree here... then a peach tree… and over there, over there were about three more peach trees… Oh, I remember that there was a mandarin tree. Do you know a tree with red fruit? It wasn't a heavenly bamboo.... Oh, it was a Chinese matrimony vine! And here was a mandarin tree and a yuzu tree. Then there were a persimmon tree and some pine trees... and the pine trees were planted here. Then there was a peach tree here, wasn't there? Yes, a peach tree! Egrets often came to the pine tree to rest... because there was a big tree here. Then... though I cut it down, and there is nothing now, there was a tree with blue fruit here before. The fruits were this big. Then there was a silverberry, and… Oh! I remember a loquat tree! I think it was over there... no.... it was here and actually it was two trees. Then there was bamboo... and a bamboo grove around here. Then here was a field, and over here another field. Then here was an oleander... that grew, and bloomed in red flowers… it was somewhere hereabouts. Then a pine was here... and more brambles grew around here, and there was bamboo as well. Then... lawns... there were lawns over here. Then there was another patch of thick brambles here... no, no, that’s wrong. It was a black pine. Hold on, what kind of tree attracts insects? Oh! It was a willow. There was a willow here."

The garden started falling. The garden he remembered had lost its place on the present ground. However, as he arranged the trees in his memory, the garden gradually became clear, growing as he spoke.

                                                                                                translated by Akiko Muto & Michael Brennan.

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