Observer Comments

11:53 Mon Sep 14, 2020

Worlds of Dew
This world of dew
is a world of dew,
and yet, and yet.
 
-Kobayashi Issa
 
I remember first reading Issa’s famous haiku 5 years ago and being struck by its profundity (I should mention that this is just one possible translation from the original Japanese). Many great haiku seem to have a sort of universal nature and magnitude to them, and trying to explain them almost seems to do a disservice to the art, but as I continue my work as a weather observer, this one keeps coming to mind...
 
At work, I feel a constant drift from microcosm to macrocosm, as I’m constantly charged with meticulously recording small meteorological details in an effort to make sense of the bigger picture, and it is in this realm that this poem seems to have particular weight. Often times, my observations feel like a grain of sand in the vast oceans of climate science and meteorology. But what a grain of sand it is!
 
Surely, anyone who has spent time on the summit recognizes what a dynamic and unique place this is, with a fascinating microclimate of its own. Often times when we start to sharpen our gaze, we realize that the microscopic details, so often overlooked with all their transience, tend to contain dynamic worlds of their own.
 
Supposedly Issa wrote this poem in the early 1800s after the death of one of his daughters. I wonder what was going through his mind. As I look outside, fog collects on the window, and a large aggregate drop rolls down the pane, before disappearing out of sight.
 


Nate Iannuccillo, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
  
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