I’d been to Cannon Beach once before, with my brother Al, back in the mid 1980’s. My aesthetic experience of the Pacific Northwest had been so powerful, my thoughts, so coloured by my emotional response to the wild Oregon coast, that I had to return. It was late afternoon when I arrived and the sun was low on the horizon. High cirrus and stratocirrus clouds stretched out across the sky, slightly shrouding the sun and its parhelion. The silhouette of the monolith, Haystack Rock, shaped the background and it was all reflected by the wet sand beach. While the flow of time brought me back to Cannon Beach and it was flow or fūryū, in Japanese, that greeted me on the beach on my return. The beauty of wind and water.

H.E. Davey in The Japanese Way of the Artist, articulates fūryū with poetic imagery: Like the wind, fūryū can be sensed, but not seen. It is a quality both tangible and intangible in its suggested elegance. Fūryū points to an ephemeral beauty, which can only be experienced in the now, for in the next instance, it will dissolve like the morning mist.

Flow is the sensed movement of sunlight chasing shadows, of clouds and mist, waves and tides, rivers and waterfalls. ‘The wind and the waves, might they be friends’? writes a 9th century Japanese school girl. Of course, and it is in flow that they begin their acquaintance.

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