Walking down this road I would like to see a rice field golden in the morning sun with a great mountain rising behind it just around the next bend. I would settle for a town its lone Temple quiet, awaiting the morning bell, the call to sit, with maybe a cat at the base of a statue the Bodhisattva. I am ready to bow deeply to the first monk I see this day, but my reverie is broken by the barely dodged wave thrown up by city bus running late and fast down the crowded street of this upstate New York city.
Pluto is now undecided though that does not seem to trouble many. It was one thing to be a god, albeit always thought of as lesser, for that is what happens when you rule a place no one wants to visit, like being the greeter at the door of the largest Wal-Mart in Hell. It was nice being a planet, even if no one ever visited, but that was taken away by those who now deem themselves gods, replacing all of his peers and consigning them to orbit a star that has no real name. But now they say, just perhaps, Pluto is a planet, and that has given rise to a debate, while no one asks Pluto’s opinion, and he just wants to be left alone in his dark corner of the solar system.
This morning, as I do most mornings, I took my paints and painted the sky blue. Today for some reason, I opted for Cornflower, it seemed to fit my mood and the neighbors cat, after considering it for a few moments seemed to agree with my choice, though she suggested tomorrow might be better served by either Carolina Blue or Iceberg, but if I don’t sleep all that well tonight, I suspect I will just go with Cool Gray. The Cardinal says anything darker than Dark Pastel blues is unacceptable since it takes away from his beauty, but that vanity aside, it takes too long to sweep aside the clouds to do the second coat the brighter blues all demand.
Tonight a blood moon will rise. This isn’t about lycanthropy although the moon will have the fullness that metamorphosis demands. The sky will be clouded the now crimson moon, the planet that wears the palette as its nature will lurk out of sight and we, lost in dreams, will imagine what our eyes are unable to see.
The lake in Central Park and its cousin rivers reflect the gray of a cold sky, an April afternoon. None of this is seen by the multitudes traversing the streets and avenues, a people who barely remember the sky.
Origami cranes lumber into flight and lift into the sky over the small, back street Temple somewhere on the periphery of Shinjuku. They know their flight will be only temporary, that their wings will grow quickly tired, that the rustling sound of two thousand wings will soon fall silent as the breeze bids them a peaceful night, and the Temple bell announces the evening zazen.
As you look out the window you say the branches of the tree are dancing, the clouds barely stopping to gaze down on the scene. Walk outside and feel the breeze skitter along your skin, see the seed pods of the maple take wing and fly off. Ask yourself why this is, is it the wind you see moving things or is it the things moving creating a breeze, which? Consider that it is only your mind that is moving, for if you do not look or think of these motions, how can you know if they stop?
A reflection on case 146 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)