In my dreams I wandered the alleys of Lisbon searching for a familiar face, and many came close, but no man stopped me and asked if I was, by chance his son, for he dreamed I was what a son of his would look like.
Now I have no need to wander for I know he is in a military cemetery in Burlington, New Jersey, and I doubt he had any idea in life he had another son, or a daughter in Italy, for weekends were quickly passed when you had to be back at the base by midnight on Sunday.
She sits demurely on the step staring off at something. You want to know what but her face isn’t saying, her eyes soft, revealing nothing, her smile enticing, teasing, and out of grasp.
You want to sit with her, see what she looks at, what has captured her thoughts, and there is room on the step for you to join her, but you have never met, you cannot sit next to her, she there half a century ago, and you know she will only be the stuff of dreams one night.
The wisest of men, when asked at what time it is best to pursue the Way, will answer when a thousand stars have made their presence known. The wisest student will say when cleaning myself by bathing in the mud. This will become clear when the frog consumes the dragon.
A reflection on Case 35 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)
It starts quickly and unexpectedly. You do not know when it will start, why, or what it will bring. There are times when even after it is done, you cannot be certain what it was, what it did, what it meant. Often, though, you forget it before you have time to capture it. It is evanescent, an intense glimmer that can quickly fade to a void, as though it was never there. You wish you could capture it, but you know well that dreams act under their own rules.
Spring has arrived, however begrudgingly, and the young woman pushes the older woman’s wheelchair along the paths of the great park. Neither speaks, but each knows this could be the last time they do this. That shared knowledge paints each flower in a more vibrant hue, each fallen petal is quickly but individually mourned for, its beauty draining back into the soil. The older woman struggles hard to fully capture each view for she knows that it is possible that it will have to last her an eternity.
First Published in Beautiful in the Eye of the Beholder, Sweetycat Press, 2022