komorebi

11.13.21 ~ Saint Patrick Cemetery, Mystic, Connecticut

The interplay between light and the leaves when sunlight filters through trees. The Japanese have a word for it: komorebi. Every spring and autumn the wonderful quality of the sunlight surrounding the equinoxes makes our walks in the woods (or cemeteries) seem so enchanting, whether the leaves are on the ground, on the trees, or fluttering around in the air. It’s starting to dim now that we are closer to the winter solstice, but I thought I might squeeze in one last batch of leaf photos!

little splotch of sunlight

We came back to this cemetery after we discovered it a couple of weeks ago. It had lots of trees and natural beauty, set on the banks of the picturesque Mystic River. A wind and rain storm was due later in the afternoon and it was already getting breezy. The sky was still blue to the east and getting pretty gray to the west. Still, enough sun came out to play at times.

And all the lives we ever lived
And all the lives to be
Are full of trees and changing leaves.

~ Virginia Woolf
(To the Lighthouse)

view across the Mystic River

I love autumn and winter more. Something opens up in me then ~ something soft and deep and glowing ~ which is far too shy to expose itself to the inexhaustible light of summer.
~ Sharon Blackie
(The Enchanted Life, Unlocking the Magic of the Everyday)

a blue bike and a blue bug
the license plate says “OLE BUG”
same driveway as seen in above picture
love this burnt orange color
Mystic River
a rare bit of red? or burnt orange?
stuck on the fence
another view across the Mystic River
木漏れ日 (koh-mo-reh-bee)

A couple of hours after we got home a quick but terribly windy thunderstorm with heavy rain passed through. Later we learned that four confirmed tornadoes had touched down in Connecticut! One of them was an EF-1 with estimated 90 mph winds in Stonington, about 15 miles to the east of us. The other three were farther away and were EF-0s. Tornadoes in November???

The four twisters that struck Connecticut are the only four on record to occur in the state during November and the most in the state in a single day since May 15, 2018.
~ Jacob Feuerstein
(The Washington Post, November 14, 2021)

33 thoughts on “komorebi”

    1. Thank you, Frank. We do have many beautiful cemeteries here. Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, comes to mind, the first garden cemetery (1831) in the country. I’ve been there twice and it’s like a lovely park.

  1. I love that the Japanese have a term for this beautiful light: komorebi. My guy and I have been mesmerized by the sunlight through the trees all of this Fall. And we walk through the Sleepy Hollow cemetery (in Concord MA) often, finding beauty and solace as you and your husband do. Yes, I watched the weather news and the tornedoes in CT, thinking of you. Glad all is okay! Your photos are glorious.

    1. Thank you, Pam! I’ve been to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, back in the summer of 2006, with my daughter! We followed the Author’s Ridge path to see the graves of Louisa May Alcott, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson. I admit I’m a little envious that you get to visit there so often. I bet it’s especially lovely, comforting and peaceful in the fall.

    1. Thank you, Kathy! And the camera is getting a little better at capturing the beauty I’m seeing. 🍁 📷

    1. Thank you, Anna! It’s nice to know that sharing my photos brings a measure of joy to you. Leaves do get caught in some unusual places! 🍁

  2. When I lived in the suburbs, I quickly learned that old cemeteries were wonderful, quiet green spaces. This one looks lovely. I just learned the word ‘komorebi’ the other day. Nice to have a word for something I’ve loved all my life. 🙂

    1. I felt the same way upon learning the word ‘komorebi’ — there’s a word for it and other people notice it, too. 🙂 🍁 I discovered the beauty of cemeteries years ago when I started looking for the graves of my ancestors, but it’s also nice to visit them for a sense of peace and connecting to nature.

    1. Thank you, Donna! The weather has certainly been wild everywhere this year and it makes me wonder what kind of winter we might be in for… Thanks for thinking about me!

    1. Thank you, Leelah, I thought so, too! 🍁 I think the river in the background added something more to the lighting.

  3. I learned a new word today “komorebi” – very interesting and you used the sun’s rays to your advantage with some beautiful leaves photos. I especially like that burnt orange color too. I like the marble cherub in the cemetery – your squirrel friend was not there this time. Your weather has been quite erratic this year. Four tornadoes in one day is really over the top. I heard about your weather on the national news and thought of you. Mother Nature is certainly on a tear this year.

    1. We did not see even one squirrel that day, nor any birds. Maybe they sensed the storm was coming and were hunkering down. I had no idea our little tornados made the national news! That marble cherub was so poignant. We found a section of the cemetery with the burials of just babies and children and wondered why they weren’t buried in the same plots as their parents or other family members. I haven’t seen enough burnt orange this fall so I lingered by that tree, just enjoying it to the full!

      1. I have days like that sometimes Barbara I was at Lake Erie Metropark earlier today and I usually see egrets or herons – none today. I saw a few Mallards who freaked out when they saw me and a couple of Mute Swans who did nothing but preen and dive for food. Yes, your tornadoes made the CBS national news (radio) – same for that bad storm you had about two or three months ago. That is sad and it is surprising they don’t have a family plot for the babies and children who died. When I went to the old cemetery known as “The Old Burial Ground” last year, I was surprised how they identified the deceased youngsters at the time – one in particular stuck with me “Little Willie”. That cemetery had headstones from back in 1849. I missed the burnt oranges too – I saw some reds and yellows but a lot of leaves were whisked off the trees by wind and they were loose but had not turned color yet.

        1. It is interesting the different ways parents will mark their children’s graves. Everything from nicknames like the Little Willie you saw to giving them no name at all, like “infant daughter of Reuel Mason.” Graveyards are full of mysteries to wonder about…

          1. The other old cemetery a few miles away is not owned by anyone and not maintained by the City of Wyandotte. They have volunteers come to cut the grass and clean the headstones and they decorate the graves on Memorial Day. They even formed a Facebook group to share any info they know about their ancestors and are planning a get together on the grounds around Christmas of all the descendants who live in the area. (Sounds a bit macabre to me.)

          2. I do appreciate those Facebook groups for cemeteries. It helps me keep tabs on what’s happening at some of the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried since I cannot get there to visit the graves myself these days.

  4. I’m not familiar with this term but love it. Autumn is my favorite time of year because of the colors and the light that shines on them. The blue bug is wonderful. Serendipity that you saw it with a camera in hand when you did.

    1. Yes, I was happy with the serendipity, especially since blue is my favorite color. 😉 My grandparents always drove a bug, although theirs was white. Then they retired and bought a white VW bus and started taking camping trips. Memories…

  5. Komorebi. I’m so glad you wrote about this, Barbara. I read something about a few weeks ago and couldn’t remember the word for it. The Japanese seem to have a word for everything. Lately I’ve been thinking about how limited the English language can be. We’ve been studying Sanskrit words in the Yoga Sutras class I’m taking, one word at a time in each Sutra, because each word has multiple meanings and every meaning applies. It’s fascinating.

    Beautiful photos, as always. I’m really enjoying the burnt orange colors this year, too.

    1. Thank you, Robin. The burnt oranges have been captivating. It’s true, the Japanese do seem to have a word for everything. I remember learning about wabi-sabi from your blog — oh my, how many years ago was that? It must be that different cultures have words for things that they notice and talk about. I’m always amazed at all the different words Scandinavians have for different kinds of snow and sleet. I’m not familiar with any Sanskrit words but I can imagine they would stick with you if you keep using them in class. Although I enjoy my little senior yoga practice I’ve never delved into the language or philosophy that goes with it.

  6. Some days I feel exactly like that leaf! Your title “stuck on the fence” gave me a great laugh, Barbara. I was engaging the texture of the hard cold wire and the soft warm leaf, until I read your hilarious title.

    Fun seeing the blue bike n bug duo. That’s an olde one alright. I had an old red bug ‘hand me down’ from the 1970’s. Now I have a white 2015 beetle with a tan convertible top; name is “The Doodle”. Lot’s of fun!

    Didn’t hear about the tornado so close to you. A tornado will zip through so fast and wild before you know what’s happening!! Unbelievable!!! Glad to know that you didn’t have to experience it.

    1. It’s funny how nature can find ways to make us see that we are no alone with our feelings. Leaves seem to find themselves trapped in all kinds of places as they are swept along in wind currents they have no control over.

      Doodle Bug! I love it! Are the new bugs as fun to drive as the old ones? When we see them on the road my husband and I call them skinny old bugs and chubby new bugs — hee hee. My grandparents drove a white Bug in the late 60s. I have fond memories of them arriving at our house in it. One Christmas Grandfather pulled in with a Santa mask over his face, as if Santa was driving into our driveway. We were delighted! I can still see it. 🙂

      1. Yes, the chubby new bugs are extremely fun to drive especially on top down weather days. I remember my skinny old bug had a hand crank sun roof not quite a convertible. I get lots of admirers stopping to waive a thumbs up or even a shout out “love your bug” which brings me a smile. You are right about chubby and skinny description as I had not thought of that before.

        I love hearing of your grandfather Santa Mask Bug story!

        Hope you don’t mind the late delay to your question. I’m just catching up on your blog. I’m a bit of a slow doodle these days of fall.

        1. People do seem to love waving at those bugs, old and new, whenever they spot them. I’m glad the attention brings a smile to your face. 🙂 I don’t mind at all when you add your comments or answer questions. Sometimes it takes me a while to get back to blog responses as well.

  7. I so enjoyed hearing there is a word for the magnificent phenomenon of light and leaves, Barbara. I liked seeing the Japanese characters for it too. Wonderful to see the leaves and light, the beautifuly Mystic River and surroundings. Lovely post.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Jet. It’s always fun to learn a new word and to find out that people the world over are appreciating the same aspects of nature. 🍂

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