繋がる記憶と不思議なデジャブ(re:日本一周#54)

「たまにはこれで温泉でも浸かって宿でも取ってゆっくりしなさい」

親戚のおばちゃんが半分命令のようにお金を握らせてくれた

長崎一周に出発する前日の夜の出来事だ

島原半島をぐるっと回って長崎市内を通って佐世保の親戚の家に戻るまで一泊二日で野宿でもしながら旅をする予定だったが、急遽島原半島の先っぽにある「熱量日本一」を誇る温泉 小浜温泉への宿泊が決まった

そんな小浜温泉は親戚の家から160キロ離れている。正直まぁまぁ骨が折れる距離ではあったけど、宿に泊まれるとあっちゃ気分はもうルンルンだ。

翌日、背中に羽が生えた?!?!ってくらいのウキウキさで親戚の家を飛び出した

天気は薄曇りの晴れ

走るには最高のコンディションだ

まずは大村湾沿いをひたすら60キロ進んで、いよいよ島原半島へ

まず向かったのは島原半島のシンボル 島原城

蓮の葉が浮かぶお堀に、均整の取れた城郭

全国でもなかなかお目にかかれない美しいお城だった。あまり有名でないのがむしろ不思議なくらいの城で、島原藩の権勢がうかがえた

そんなヒストリー探検隊になった後は、のどかな島原半島を突き進む

今でさえこんなにのどかな島原半島だが、25年前、この半島は真っ黒な灰に覆われた

戦後最大とも言われた雲仙普賢岳の大噴火だ

噴火による火砕流、土石流は南島原の町を飲み込んで数多くの死者行方不明者を出した

そんな噴火に埋もれた町の遺構に辿り着く

二階部分まで完全に埋まった家

今は道の駅の一部となっているこの災害遺構はショッキングそのものだった

自然の力の大きさと人間が太刀打ちできないということを痛感させられる

けど、それ以上に、なぜかこの場所に違和感があった

それは遠い記憶の中で、遠い夢の中でこの場所に来たことがあるような、デジャブのような感覚。

不思議な感覚に包まれたヨコイシは藁にもすがる思いで親父に連絡する

「今、島原をまわってるんだけど、なぜか見覚えのある景色があるんだよね、来たことないはずなのに。どうしてかわかる?」

すると親父は

「お前がまだ本当に小さい頃に、家族旅行で島原に来たんだぞ、覚えてないのか?」

そう言われた瞬間に記憶が蘇る

どうやら自分の人生で一番古い記憶らしい

お母さんの手を握ってヨコイシはここに来ている。そして同じ景色を見ている記憶

道中、親父におねだりしてクワガタのフィギュアを買ってもらった思い出まで鮮明に思い出した。

あの頃親父の運転する車の振動は心地よくて、気付いたらいつも眠りに落ちていたっけな…

いつもと違う景色の場所に旅行で連れて行ってもらえることがすごく嬉しくて、いつもと違う布団と場所で寝ることにどこか大人になった気分を味わって、旅行中はいつもより少しだけ夜更かしさせてくれるのが楽しみだったなぁ…

だけどそのうち眠くなっちゃって…気付いたら夢の中で…

偶然訪れた場所で、人生の一番古い記憶を全て思い出す。こんな奇跡みたいなことがあるから旅は面白い

それから親父は一枚の写真を送って来た

少し泣きそうだった

その時の写真はしっかり家のホワイトボードに貼ってあったから

そしてあれから十数年。今は自分ひとりで同じ場所に自転車で来ている。だけどひとりで辿り着いているように思えて、決してひとりじゃなかったことを思い知らされる

そんな興奮した、不思議な気持ちを落ち着かせるために、がむしゃらに走り出す

向かったのはもう一つ、記憶に残っていた場所

天草四郎がキリシタンを従えて江戸幕府と壮絶な戦いを繰り広げた激戦地 原城跡だ

だけどヨコイシにとってこの場所はそんな「激戦地」というイメージではなかった

海風が草原を駆け抜けるような、静かで落ち着く場所だった記憶があったから

果たしてその記憶は本物なのか、確かめて見たくなった

辿り着くと、そこには記憶のままの風景が広がる。

思えば随分遠くまで来たもんだなぁ

背伸びをしながら改めて思う

自転車で遥々こんなところまで来るなんて、俺も相当変わり者なんだなって

大学生時代に味わえる友達と飲みやバーベキュー、海、花火なんかのキラキラした夏休みの青春はとうに捨てて来たけど、今思えばこうやってひとりで旅をして、ふとした拍子に色んなことを思い出して、色んな人に出会って、汗をかいて進んでいく。そんな青春だって悪くないよなぁ

こんな広大な大地で海風を浴びて、酔いしれながらひとりで昼寝してみる。そんな青春だって素敵じゃん。小さい頃に家族でここに来た俺は今俺がこんなことやってるなんて想像も出来てないだろうけど、まぁ悪くもない旅だよ。なんて語りかけたくなってしまった。

これ以上ここにいるとポエマーな気持ちが止まらなくて酸っぱくなりそうだったから、あまり長居はせずに温泉宿までの残り40キロを進む

そして午後6時に160キロを走って辿り着く

たしかに町全体から湯気が上がるような熱量日本一にふさわしい温泉街だ。むしろ熱気がすごすぎて暑苦しいくらいだ

川からも湯気が上がってるんだからもうお手上げ状態

今日の宿も格安だったのにすごく綺麗で、もうお手上げの中のお手上げだ

しかも源泉掛け流しの温泉に入り放題とあっちゃ、皮膚がふやけるまで入るしかない

名物の小浜ちゃんぽんを食べたら、急いで着物に着替えて、温泉に飛び込んだ

【今日の風景 -原城跡】

海沿いの高台にある草原を味わえる

ヨーロッパの牧歌的風景に入り込んだ気分になれるおすすめスポット

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