It will soon enough be time again, I am an old clockface on a tower at which no one but the truly bored bother to look, tucked in a corner of a village half empty, its life moved away to places cooler, less stormy. So I sit and watch what life remains around me, the few children wishing they could be elsewhere, some parents wishing they had used birth control. No one looks, no one really cares but I have little choice, it is my fate to mark passages, entrances, but my hands are growing tired and at some not far off point they will stop moving, and I wonder if anyone will care.
He found the cup by the curb one morning walking to the bus. He rarely notice things on his walk, thinking always about the day ahead. But this day he saw it, picked it up and put it in his messenger bag intending to clean it later, when he got home after work. He had no idea why he wanted it. It wasn’t particularly pretty, a drab red with a mark where a decal had long ago peeled away. He forgot it, until he found it in his bag several days later, he washed it and placed it on a special shelf in his kitchen cabinet. The shelf was reserved for things he found with which he intended to do something, but that something had not yet happened. He knew something was missing from the shelf, so he took a selfie, printed it and placed it on the shelf.
First published in The Birdseed, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2021
When I saw you this morning I knew instantly that I hadn’t seen you in more than twenty years, although it is quite possible we have never met and today was the first time my eyes ever gazed at your face .
I suppose it is lucky that you did not recognize me although I don’t think I’ve changed all that much in twenty years.
I was going to call out your name, but decided against it in case you have changed it or, possibly because you wouldn’t answer to the name I choose to give you.
It was good seeing you today, let’s do again in a decade or so.
The most disturbing thing about lemmings is not that they follow one after another over a cliff or into traffic, it is not the carnage that inevitably ensues, one after another doomed by the need to follow blindly.
The disturbing thing is not the knowledge that lemmings only follow, so someone directed the first in line into a suicidal act.
The most disturbing thing is that lemmings do not commit mass suicide, it is only in our tortured use of cliches that they meet their death.
It is the difference I always notice between small and large cities: the parks.
When you sit deeply within Boston Commons or Central Park you can feel the city always threatening to encroach and once again make you its prisoner, smell and hear the city, traffic and trucks rumbling, horns played in a cacophonous symphony.
In small cities you can sit in a park and wonder where downtown could be, distant, a whisper perhaps alwlays unseen, and you can get lost in dreams of childhood smell newly mown grass, and listen unimpeded to the stories the trees are all to willing to tell.
Life should be a like a mountain although truth be told, we prefer it more like a prairie or at best a gentle, rolling hill.
There is a challenge to climbing, hell maintaining a grip halfway up most mountains, and there are no maps, no well worn paths, you just go up until you cannot go up higher then you figure out how to come down.
Down is the hard part, and you don’t want it to go quickly for that is a prescription for the undertaker, and when you do finally get down, you want to say I did it all, there is nothig left that I still need to do.
If you stare at a large stone and call it a mountain the ant will agree with you. If you gaze on a mountain and call it a stone there can be no argument. If I call that tree a toothpick clean your teeth carefully.
A reflection on Case 112 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye) Koans