When a leaf leaves the tree it falls precisely where it should. When a flower petal is carried off on a strong wind it comes to rest in the proper place. When you smell the sweet aroma of next summer’s roses use the nose you had before your parents were born.
A reflection on case 32 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye) Koans
I want so to say that i feel your pain, but we’d both know that was an utter lie.
I can tell you abut my pain, describe it at great length, and I will be utterly disappointed when you admit you can only imagine it as a reflection of your own pain, which I am certain doesn’t begin to rise to the level of mine, but that is your failure, and I will forgive it for I know that my pain is unique and beyond even your imagination.
So let us just agree that each of our pains is beyond the contemplation of the other, secure in our own uniqueness.
It is a day set aside for resolutions although there is no reason you cannot make a resolution any day of your choosing.
Perhaps it is a day for those resolutions you might not otherwise make, the bold or daunting, more likely a day for the resolutions you know you will abandon as too hard or simply utterly impractical.
This year I have resolved not to engage in the annual ritual, the annual farce more accurately, and will achieve a long-held goal of conceding failure early, in a new year that will afford myriad chances to come up short.
And there is a hidden blessing in my newfound resolve to swear off resolutions, so take that old Epimenides.
We marched for hours, going nowhere really, but nowhere was the point of the marching so we achieved the goal the Air Force set. We didn’t even think it odd that they made us shave our heads, so we’d all look like fools, there was a war on and we were in the military, so we had already proven that point. We were the smarter ones, as it turned out, enlistees who’d spend our time on bases getting the pilots ready to fly into the danger we knew we had so carefully avoided, and for us the greatest risk appeared daily in the mess hall.
First published in As You Were, the Military Review, Vol. 13, 2020
It is the eyes that fall in love, the heart that follows like an always faithful shadow, and the mind and reason that are bound to darkness and silence.
That is what I learned in my dream last night, or my recollection of it, for dreams may fade in the sharp light of morning.
But dreams have a potent magic, a holiness really, for there I can resurrect the dead and if the mood is right, bend back the arrow of time, render it dimensionless, all the while I remain constant, but certain with any luck, in someone else’s dream, I may be a child, a young man, or any of a thousand other roles I cannot imagine.