He’d been searching for ever, or so often seemed, for no-self, and he couldn’t fathom why it was so difficult to attain simple absence, nothing must be less than something, after all. He knew, like Sisyphus, he would continue to search until he succeeded, the gods of his soul decreed it and you don’t fuck with them. It was difficult recalling how much time had been wasted in the search for mirrors and when he found one, looked, there he was selfsame, self-filled, and he imagined, selfish. He took to always carrying a hand mirror and when he thought he might have found it he glanced at the polished surface in his hand and there he’d still be, his endless self older now, but there, very much still there. One day, frustration getting the better of him he wandered deep into a massive forest, hours later sitting on a fallen trunk, he reached for his mirror, gone. There was tree and sky and earth, that was all, as night enveloped everything, even his no-self.
The real question, the true heart of the matter, is whether this is the first day of a new year, as she believes, or merely the day after the last day of the year, as he would have it. They have this discussion once each year, and they never resolve it for eventually they grow tired, and the day is gone before they do. They promise to conclude the next time around, but by then they will have forgotten most of their history and will grasp the novelty of the old argument anew.
She says every woman should own a little black dress, and during the time she tries them on I am thinking what she meant was every man should be married to and in love with a woman who wears a little black dress as well as she does, but I say It looks really nice on you, You should buy it, and I think, I will find events to which you can where it frequently, because it looks so good on you, and you in that little black dress make me look so good standing next to you, and men, although they will never admit it, are all so often about reflected glory.
He no longer cared when it would happen, he knew it would or would not according to its own whims and desires and it would happen when it chose to do so. He could not control who would be there, it might be him or might not, so if he was, fine, and if not, so be it. And he knew not to stand still assuming it would happen there, for it was likely to happen there or somewhere else, a place of its choosing. It would have its own reasons and he could ascribe a reason and it might suit him, but he knew at a deep level that he would be engaged in the sort of self-delusion he so despised in others. And when he understood all of this, he knew exactly what he needed to do and retired from the news uncertain who he would be, where he would go or when, what he would do and why anyone would care, and he was happy.
I was honored to have this recently published in Arena Magazine: A Magazine of Critical Thinking, Issue 162 from Victoria, Australia
This river has for endless time flowed from the distant hills on its winding path to the waiting sea. The river has no need of clocks, cares little whether the Sun, Moon or clouds shimmers on its surface. The river counts seasons as passing moments ever new, ever shifting, and our lives, and our dams are minor diversions. I sit along the banks and watch the clouds flow gently down stream seeking the solitude only the ocean will afford.
The key to a simple meal is to cook the rice until each grain sits comfortably next to its neighbor without touch or embrace. On this, pour a bit of miso diluted by water of a stream or pulled from deep within the earth. Top it all with finally cut vegetables, carefully strewn as you would seeds of grass for a deep, even lawn, but here with sufficient space that the once white, now gently beige surface is dotted with color, so many islands in a slightly muddy stream. When you are done eating the last grain of rice from the bowl consider how many grains have you have eaten and give thanks to the farmer for each one.