The Time of White Dew (白露): 

by Leanne Ogasawara

Photographs by Tracey Parmley Nuki


Back from three weeks on the road, I immediately consult my Japanese almanac. To my delight, I see we are now in the Time of White Dew (白露):

Falling just prior to the Autumnal Equinox, the sun is said to have passed the 165th solar degree on its journey south. Although the afternoons are still dominated by the lingering heat of August and September, Autumn-like weather can increasingly be felt, deepening with each passing rain shower, especially noticeable in the mornings and evenings as the equinox approaches.

It’s like clockwork. Every year, by mid-September, the dew point is reached and suddenly there are glistening dewdrops –like diamonds– scattered in the morning grass.

This was true in Tokyo and it’s true in Los Angeles.

In Japan, these pearly gems are not only treasured for their gem-like beauty, but they are also appreciated  for their fleetingness; which, like scattering cherry blossoms, are likened to the transience of our human existence. For life, like the disappearing dewdrops in the morning sunlight, is too often cut short. In this way, dewdrops have been considered, since ancient times, along with “scattering flowers and fallen leaves” (飛花落葉) as a poetic metaphor for impermanence, or mujo (無常).

Have you heard of the dewdrop world? Read more »