Since January I have been walking every day, spurred on by my faithful yet tyrannical FitBit. As well as opening my eyes to all the beauty I hadn’t realised was around me, I’ve also built up a repertoire of local walks. One of my favourites is a park about a mile from my home. Although the walk there and back is along a busy road, the walk around the park is beautiful and I go there often.
On the way to the park there is a tiny shop which sells small antiques and secondhand items; a lot of them are glass or ceramic and not so expensive. A few weeks ago I noticed a small square relief of Madonna and child. The shop wasn’t open every day, but the Madonna was in one of the glass cases outside the shop, so I kept taking a look at it and gradually decided to ask if I could take a look at it and ask how much it was.
One day the shop was open and I asked the owner to show it to me. It was only ¥1,000 and I bought it.
Since that day the owner has always said hello when he sees me walking past. A few days ago I was walking past the shop again. He had opened one of the display cases and handed me an even smaller round Madonna and child.
“This is Maria too,” he said. “It’s a present for you. I’m Buddhist.”