Storm clouds crawl in the sky overhead, the sun barely straining through small chinks afforded it.
The light that trickles down to earth is not one to lighten the heart, but instead serves to show the deep anger contained within the maelstrom.
Yet below this tumultuous, heavenly scene the Crow’s Castle – Matsumoto-Jo – stands as strong and imposing as it has always been. As it has been for over four centuries.
Its old defences of inter-connecting walls, moats and gatehouses; the defences of the ancient times, of six different daimyo families and 23 lords, have long since gone, but the castle shows no chinks in its armour.
It remains impenetrable.
The light has just enough strength to creep through the halls and hallways. It casts an eerie glow upon which to follow, to tread lightly and not waken souls of sleeping samurai.
As the daylight – the little that was given – fades once more below the horizon, the Crow Castle is cast in a new splendour.
Black walls recede from those in white.
The moat reveals a ghostly image, like a mirror into the past: was that a samurai running through the darkened halls?
The blue sky of a departed sun frames the regal roof; black tiles spread wide and strong, like those of a crow soaring high.
But there are no longer samurai.
There is no longer a war in which to fight. In which a castle’s defence is required.
And so there is time.
Time to savour the moment. The memory. The majesty.