I spent the last week in Palm Beach and the Bahamas photographing sumptuous homes, filled with expensive art and luxurious possessions. Every night in my hotel room, I watched the footage of the destruction in Japan on the news and was reminded of the fragility of existence and the futility of the material world.
There is a centuries old tradition in Japan where Zen monks, samurai and others compose poems at moments of death. The monk Kozan Ichikyo, wrote these lines on the morning of February 12, 1360:
Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going --
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.
When he finished, he laid down his brush and died sitting upright.