"Entering the first gallery of the museum, to my right is the open-air garden, and I know I want to go there: a return to the gardens of Kyoto I visited only four months ago. But these monoliths I first encounter, that rise up between me and the garden, insist that I stay, demanding my own restlessness cease. This constant anxious itch to be somewhere else, a presence in my life as in Noguchi's, has brought me here. And so I pause, the moment of ma — a Japanese word for rest or pause, but a word with a metaphysical meaning as well: the essential interval in time I know from the shakuhachi now experienced as space that gives meaning to whatever surrounds it.

Narrow Gate

"The distressed face
ridged by drilling tools
a slit of air into the stone

"Today, I explore all of the rooms of the museum, looking at everything. I stroll through the perfect garden of stone and foliage, compact and yet vast. I eat lunch in the small cafe and gift shop, buy Noguchi's autobiography from 1968, A Sculptor's World, not much text, a lot of images. His writing lacks the strength of his sculpture.

" 'Whatever we do we end up with ourselves, no better, no worse. How it is done is merely determined by the technique one has acquired or the materials available, or even by the size and locality of the studio. Why should sculpture have to be so limited? Suppose it were possible to consider it ideally, ignoring superficial and passing circumstances, what would be its possibilities? I decided I had to have a studio where I could avoid these limitations that are so prejudicial to sculpture. I purchased a small factory building across the river from New York, in Long Island City. [Three of us] then started in the dead of winter to build within this anonymous space my own environment, free of whatever there was outside.'

"Starting with myself, what's left of me, I decide to return as often as I can over the next few months to be with these stones, in these spaces, free of whatever is outside, to liberate myself from what binds me inside. In carving, Noguchi released the spirits, Shinto gods — the kami — from stones. I also seek release. Let the gods inside be free."