We bow our heads and utter words not to the cicada speaking through a spring night or the beetle crawling slowly across the leaf searching for the edge. We bid the crow silent, the cat mewling his hunger, just to crawl under a porch awaiting morning, the child to sleep. The stream flows slowly by, carrying a blade of grass and the early fallen leaf.
Ensconced on the couch, the cat hears a bird singing outside the window. Once, she would have pressed her face against the screen, imagining a great chase. Now she listens, content to let the birds sing into the fading sun.
We are in the season of stasis where nothing wants to move and nothing should shed the mantle of snow that has announced winter’s arrival in terms we full understand, as do the finches clinging to the feeder casting nervous glances skyward. The neighbor’s cat has decided that the remote chance of catching a bird or squirrel is easily outweighed by the warmth of the house, and even the dogs down the block have found their own lawns much more to their liking. We know our feet will thaw after our morning walks, but suspect this may happen only with the Spring that seems impossibly far away, and so we imagine ourselves bulbs, clinging to what warmth the earth offers knowing the bloom has infinite patience.
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.
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.