Bashō and Wandering Aesthetics
This chapter proposes that wandering, the activity of leisurely, though attentively, traversing the land in relatively unaided ways, has an aesthetics that may help us recover a sense of the depth of space, of the diversity of places, and of the human lives within the larger context of nature. It argues that poetic wandering is similar in certain interesting respects to shamanic journeying. The chapter focuses on the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, and describes his poetic ways of wandering. It argues that poetic wandering is similar in certain interesting respects to shamanic journeying. The chapter outlines the aesthetics of wandering, and concludes that the practice of wandering may be a way to resist the an-aesthetizing effects of our modern societies' trends and to recover a sense of our embeddedness in a non-human natural world.