How I Met 1979 and 1996 Again
I visited a humble and old Shinto shrine in a very local town.
The shrine was on a small triangular hill covered by woods along the main road of the town with gentle mountains behind. A community center and other public buildings were on the left side of the hill base. Almost no one was walking and cars passed by only sporadically. The sky was grey and the air was chilly.
At the foot of the hill there was a humble shrine wooden gate, with tow vertical poles set up a few meters apart and connected by two top crossbars, where a holy rope made of rice straws was stretched in the air just above the height of a man. Ten or so holy stripes of white paper were attached to the straw rope at several inch interval to one another horizontally.
I walked through the shrine gate and climbed steep stone steps for 12 meters or so. Then I met a man cleaning up the humble and old wooden shrine or fixing some damaged parts. He might be a Shinto priest in casual dress.
"May I donate money?" I asked, observing a humble and old offertory box, 1.2 meters wide. "Yes," replied the man who then walked toward the back side of the shrine structure.
I prayed for peace and threw coins into the box. But when I turned back to return, I found two one-yen coins on the small garden, a little wet for light snow falling several days ago, before the shrine structure. I first thought I had dropped them when I pulled other coins out of my pocket. However, they looked having been left there for some time with some dirt at their rims. I then wondered if the possible Shinto priest might have dropped. But, it was also unlikely,
I checked years impressed on the surfaces of the two aluminium coins. They were 1979 and 1996.
I put them on the edge of the offertory box, laying them side by side. And I descended the stone steps, leaving the nameless town or village shrine once and for all.
On New Year days, hundreds of town residents would visit the shrine, though I don't know what will become of the two one-yen coins.
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Mat 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
Mat 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.