On becoming a western yamabushi, I realize that I am the first of my kind. Traversing these puny mountain trails, combining Buddhism with the native medicine and practical magik. Sprinklings of tobacco and askings for springtime to make its presence felt sweetly so that the forest creatures can enjoy surviving this harsh length of winter that has been dwindling to a close. My walking stick is my only source of wisdom and yet my feet still sink in the melting snow. I will be the crow-sage as they are the only ones who caw out prajna as I meditate, envisioning black feathered robes ensnaring my body in a special kind of mysticism. Can I learn crow in order to interpret their dharma? When I caw out, they caw back, and if I learned to whistle better, perhaps then I could learn to fly. Nothing holds me back but my mental constraints. Sweet thusness, is this the weight of the true entrusting? And I stop my mind from soaring with subtleness. The many tests that await in this hermitage. A lifetime or a thousand climbing. And my peak always across another distant valley. I’d rather speak to birds then humans anyway. My fate long since seated by society, for every time I tried to grow wings, they were plucked before I could even notice.