When you look in the mirror are you real, is your reflection real? Be careful what you say, for if I look into that mirror and see you, is the you I see anything other than real? When you go through the gate you say “I am exiting”. When I follow you through the gate I say “I am entering”. Are we both liars?
A Reflection on case 58 of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye)
When it all ends, just what will you being doing the moment before. Of course you cannot know, for you have no idea just when it will end. And if it ends as a result of your actions, then you won’t know that it is your action that is ending it, so that is no winner in this game. And before you get lost in thought, ponder this simple concept deeply first. Since I haven’t told you what it is, you can’t know even when it ends. And by the way it just did.
We have decided to skip the viewing to say our farewells in thought without needing to see her face frozen in the morticians best attempt at placidity, erasing the anger, the fear, the frustration, the pain that made leaving easier for her than remaining. We will say the prayers, most of them, she with fervent hope that they are heard, I as a member of the chorus. Some will invoke both the father and son and spirits will be moved, and I will reflect, will listen politely and hope the universe is receptive to one who is now in transit.
We listen carefully certain we can hear it if and when it appears. We hear nothing, but we are used to not hearing, but faith is a far more patient than it is given credit for and we have nothing to do in any event, other than to abide an event we cannot predict and non-prediction is a skill we have refined since we were evicted from the garden, apple in hand.
It is always odd watching older men gather to talk about their lives, about how much they no longer remember of last year and a decade ago, about the infinite details they do recall of their time spent in the army, air force, navy, the smell of slop on a shingle, the stain on the finger from field stripped cigarette butts, the olive drab they were and lived, the base post exchange the mandatory Ray Ban aviator’s, the sergeants grimace, the body count no one mentioned in the war they hated, wanted over, how they were all brothers in arms, now just old men, sharing painful memories.
I have fond memories of a childhood I never lived. Those are the best childhoods from for they reflect life as you meant it to be lived. In this life my father is in his late nineties, still smiles when he sees me, not didn’t clutch his chest sixty-one years ago, didn’t fall to the floor, didn’t leave me half an orphan again, doesn’t live only in the periphery of my dreams.
The Royal Poinciana is in full bloom, its brilliant flame has led the sun to take jealous refuge in the clouds but we know not to be complacent.
Mother nature it is said, and we are loathe to argue, can be at times the most fickle of bitches and we suspect that it will not be long before she brings forth still another tropical storm, a tantrum in which the jacaranda’s beauty must cede to her repressed envy, scattered at our feet, a warning, perhaps, but nonetheless a moment of beauty that even nature cannot deny us.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, a pictograph usually five or fewer, and a word, but a single one by definition, while a word, with two exceptions, has at least two letters, and with the same two exceptions, a letter is always wordless but can be symbolic. The Hawaiian language has only fourteen letters which may explain why native Hawaiians are rarely wordy, but fails utterly to account for their deep love of symbols.