“Now that I have reached the age of 60, and my life seems about to evaporate like the dew, I have fashioned a lodging for the last leaves of my years. It is a hut where, perhaps, a traveler might spend a single night. Creeping vines block the trails and the valleys are overgrown, but to the west is a clearing, and my surroundings thus do not leave me without spiritual comfort. In the spring I see waves of wisteria like purple clouds, bright in the west.”
From “An Account of My Hut” (1212) by Kamo no Chomei, translated by Donald Keene, “Anthology of Japanese Literature” (Grove Press)
In the West one often sees wisteria trained against a wall, but in Japan we can see wild plants clambering through trees in the mountains. Curiously, the Japanese wisteria grows clockwise, and the Chinese counterclockwise. The sight of the purple wisteria comforted the hermit all those years ago because it was believed that Amida Buddha would descend on a purple cloud to guide believers to the Western Paradise.