In Kyoto, I met the mikaeri usagi or “looking back rabbit”, a guardian spirit said to show us the way. The legend goes that a prince had gotten lost in the mountains but a rabbit appeared and showed him the way home. The rabbit would hop along the path, then turn back to look at the prince as if to say “Follow me”. That’s how the legend of the “looking back rabbit” came to be and the belief that the gentle creature will show you the right path through life.
I love this story of the looking back rabbit. For me it represents the wisdom of small, seemingly ordinary things with whom we share our journeys. The Native Indians too have their animal totems that they believe are Spirit Guides who protect and guide them.
I’ve often taken these steadfast companions for granted – the dragonflies and geckos – but I believe they could reveal messages of inspiration, hope, love, courage. If we pay attention, if we listen, if we live with open hearts.
Some guests change our lives forever. This painting and poem are dedicated to my beloved and dearly missed cats who are no longer here, but whose love, magic and presence I carry with me always. I’m ever grateful for the privilege of having these amazing companions in my life, and for my darling new kitten who’s leaving happy paw prints all over my heart.
I’m not of this generation.
You use material too fast.
Burn things up, yourself included,
for nothing more than someone else’s gaze.
I’m used to stone, ceramic, colour,
spending months on end to detail the perfect floral pattern
underneath the roof, for no one’s enjoyment but the birds and the clouds.
I ponder the colour of the window, how it’d look against a pink wall
and your beautiful, messy, slow, unpredictable life.
I see you sitting at this green or blue-glassed window,
enjoying the trudge of nation building or dreaming.
Do I have a place in your time,
among the tall and sharp-edged? I can’t call them home for
we don’t share the same soul.
But I hope you’ll always sit at windows
and walk among shophouses
like you did today.
I love the colourful, discordant shophouses that puncture the gleaming, sky scrapping landscape of Singapore, the super city of all things modern, financial, clean and efficient. This week’s Discover Challenge sent me on a lovely walk in the Joo Chiat area where time seems to have slowed to a palpable taste and colour. While we, as a society, run after bigger-better-newer, I hope we conserve our heritage to keep us grounded but always ready to dream.