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Dappled light

May 17, 2022

The space between the canopy and branches allows sunlight to gently filter through. In Japan, the dappled light this creates is called…

Komorebi (pronounced koh-mo-reh-bee) and is made up of the kanji characters for tree (木), shine through (漏れ), and sun (日)

This refers to the beauty of sunlight that shines through trees. “The beauties of nature and the way the light plays on trees”

This interplay between light and leaves when sunlight shines through trees stirred great works of art. Just look at Claude Monet’s Garden Path.

Claude Monet Garden Path at Giverny painting

and The Olive Tree Wood in the Moreno Garden. The contrast between sunlight and shadow, and the way the two dance, is a sight artists of all types try to capture.

Olive Tree Wood in the Moreno Garden, 1884 – Claude Monet

Komorebi could also mean Melancholic or Nostalgic.

Dappled Light Under Trees

Japanese love to eat out especially in a setting of Sun-dappled-forests.

Japanese Cedar Trees in the Forest.

As the sun begins to set beams of light reveals a very small glimpse of a world that is normally unseen behind the curtain of the marvelous.

An enchanting destination, Komorebi where sunshine streams through the cedar trees and cool greenery, magically provides a fairy-tale setting for sun-dappling-dining.

Enchanting, melancholic and what is this nostalgia ? Komorebi, like looking upon a memory, through filtered light.


Between the world and the word
are three small shapes,
the signs for ‘‘tree,’’ ‘‘escape,’’ and ‘‘sun.’’

I watch how the light leaks through them,
casting a shade in both directions
in the late year, on the russet path

barred with the shadows of trees.
I love how it exults, like any escapee,
on the lake in slow reflective waves,

in radiant bands ascending the birch trunks
according to some unknown frequency,
and in the cormorant extending his wet wings to it

in a messianic gesture,
as if dazzled to absolute
by the word and the world’s beauty.

Natasha Trethewey served as the poet laureate of the United States from 2012 to 2014.

  1. What a magical word. Even as I was reading, I thought of Claude Monet’s paintings and there you went and selected some excellent pieces of his work to illustrate the Komorebi…most excellent!!

    • Absolutely, that is so amazing that Claude Monet appeared in your thoughts. Truly beautiful word, stirring both the painter, writer and the poet.
      Thank you for reading, Poet.

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