Despite what the dates on the photos may say, this shrine visit occurred on December 26.
Is that some morning mist?
On the morning of December 26, my parents and I were on the bus from Everett to Granite Falls, making a pilgrimage to the Tsubaki Shrine. It was the final leg of a two-hour commute. I’d never been to a Shinto shrine before, although my father, who had worked in Japan several times, had visited shrines in Kyoto. The bus driver had no idea what this shrine thing was we were talking about, but we had the intersection and stop number, and that was good enough.
The bus stop, at the corner of Crooked Mile Road, was in the middle of nowhere. There were no signs saying “Shrine this way”, and we just had to trust in the address and walk. Later, 0.4 miles down the frosty road, we learned that the directions were correct after all.
The entrance to the shrine, with the torii. In this context, the triangle, circle, and square symbolize the principles of Aikido, a martial art that is taught at the shrine.