I stooped and spoke to a stone, asking the question. I was here before you arrived and I will be her long after you leave. I held the sand in my hand warm from the sun, asking the question. I came after your arrived and I will leave long before you are gone. I held the winter wind on the tip of a finger, asking the question. I am not here now and I have never been here. I touched the waters to my lips, asking the question. I was above you when you came and I will be below you when you go. I saw the flames dance before me, asking the question. You were ashes once and you shall be ashes again. I stood mired in the clay clinging to my legs, asking the question. It is of me you were formed and it is to me you will return. I sat at the foot of God blinding light, asking the question. You cried to me at birth and you will cry to me at death.
You imagine tomorrow will arrive without warning or notice, and even though you are skeptical, you accept the possibility, and if it doesn’t arrive what are the odds you will miss it? If, as expected, it arrives, what the hell, it was supposed to do that so nothing is odd about it, and if not, well you never really expected it to, it’s the blessing of a shortening memory, so you win either way. And so you go on with today, and when not if, tomorrow comes you’ll be there since you will recall your doubt and you’ll assume it is nothing more than the fall of the next domino in the perpetual parade.
The trees seem to know that we are leaving, why else would they shed their leaves so early, the only tears they are allowed to cry. It cannot be a blight, or so we think it, just our departure that has caused this premature pining for a winter we all know will arrive too soon any arrival being that. We rake them gently, lift them into bags positioned under their once homes, waiting for the truck to move our lives, anther to take them away.
It is her time and she knows she is ready for this moment, has been for eons, knows it will come again but none here will remember this day. She stares at them, but they ignore her, and she grows angry, her visage reddens as she slowly retreats, know the interloper will move along, hoping that her return later will provoke the sort of interest she deserves, the sort she know she should command. She teased them weeks ago, but this moment must surpass that, and will, if only the clouds play along with her. She knows clouds are fickle, but even mother nature usually concedes if only begrudgingly, and tonight should be one of those occasions. She will not see them gather, but her arrival will be heard in the collective sigh and the memories she knows they will carry into their eternity.
“Trains are present,” she said,” and somewhat the buses, but airplanes are mostly absent.” I understand what she meant, and didn’t need her to cover hands over her ears to cement the point. On a train, most sit back, some with ear buds but many simply stare out the window at towns and villages and fields flowing by, willing to share bits of their lives, real or imagined. On a train there is only truth, and what is said is real, if only within the confines of the car. On a plane the people hide inside headphones, bend their headrests around their ears, as if to demark some personal space inside which the person in the adjacent seat dare not enter, even with words. “Trains,” she said, “are as much about the journey as the destination, while planes are an abyss between the points of departure and arrival, crossed with the fear you could fall into the pit of another’s life and never again emerge.” I agree with her as we pull into a station and she rises to disembark.
He is certain that there is that single moment when it will be exactly the right time for it. There must be such a moment, for it will not happen until that instant arrives and he knows it must be arriving soon. He isn’t sure how he will know when the moment arrives, just that it will signal itself, somehow and he will know with enough warning that it will happen on schedule. Until then, he will sit, patiently on the mat, staring at the wall and imagining what samadhi will feel like when it comes.
I can assure you I will be there one week from the date I was supposed to arrive, not a day sooner and only possibly a day later. If, by any strange chance I am not please feel free to contact me immediately at the number I have not given you and won’t. And if you cannot remember when I was supposed to arrive, that is perhaps because I have never told you, but rest assured I will do so immediately upon my arrival.
He arrived this afternoon, but she stayed only briefly and then departed silently. I did not see her arrive, did not sense his stay but am certain he was there, just as I am certain he has never been here. When she is here, you cannot see her, when she is gone, your memory is a mere delusion, and grasping it is graspng air. Breathing in, the air is his breath, and breathing out the breath is hers, and this is kensho.