I used to think that the key to a great crepe was all in the wrist. That was before my wrist was fused by a doctor who explained that no motion was better than endless pain where motion ceased to practically matter. Now I realize that the forearm is capable of so much more that that for which it is given credit, that the elbow is a joint underappreciated, and that when the crepe slides off the pan and onto the plate, the forearm can take a silent bow, giving a wink to the crepe pan for its nominal contribution to the effort lying on the plate.
It was inside Nara that it finally slipped away. Its tether had grown ever weaker, the first slip was decades before, a book, brief meetings an answerless question. It stretched further in Tokyo, basin incense under the watchful third eye and hung perilously by fewer and fewer threads until, with the monks’ gentle bow, it broke and I found home.
The work of the bow is done when the arrow takes flight, when the vibration of its string is recurved into stillness. But what of the archer now having let go, can only await the fletched arrival. If the target falls will the bow know the pain, will the archer, will the fingers hold the string of the bow or the heart of the fallen?
The saffron robed monks stoop carefully, dropping single grains of colored sand onto the mandala of peace. They rock gently as the intricate wheel takes shape and form. They are drawn to its center, closer day by day, countless hours focussed to a singularity. They interlace fingers bow a collective head and pray silently for a strong wind.