There are so many questions for which I have never gotten an answer. What, for instance, does one who is lactose intolerant cry over? If the rest is history, can’t we just stop now and read it later? And if every cloud has that silver lining, it has been well seeded, so why isn’t it raining? If you sleep on the left side of the bed, do you always get up on the wrong side? And when I answer your next question, I will start by saying “to be dishonest with you.” What will you do with that, Epimenides?
Arising into night the departing sun tangos away with its cloud, memories soon forgotten.
Other dancers take the stage, now a romance, now a war dance, feathers raised in prayer to unseen gods.
Night will soon bring its curtain across this stage, the avian casts’ final bows taken the theater will darken, awaiting another performance, a new script tomorrow, but for this solitary moment of frozen grace, it is we who write the conversation, our lines sung by actors who know only nature’s unrelenting song.
There is nothing like, no words to adequately describe, that moment when a cloud- hazed sun lingers wishfully just above the horizon, grasping the sky with brilliant talons of light, fearing becoming lost in a darkness that will, on this night of the new moon, engulf us all in its inky shroud.
We know, or pray, the sun will return in hours, just as the sun knows its work is never done so long as it has light to give, hoping that final collapse is eons away.
As it finally settles beyond sight, we smile, retreat to the table and consume our dinner and wine, our daily companion forgotten until its dawning return.
Once the winter stars wrapped in their cloudy shroud shed frozen tears, unwilling to come out of hiding. We searched for them in vain, knowing our failure, retreating to the warmth of home, only to repeat the failed effort on so many other nights.
Now, here, the winter stars are usually fearless, some drowned by the moon, but she waxes and wanes and they reappear, the brightest never fearing the chilled sky. We stare at them in wonder having forgotten for so many years just how beautiful they can be in their glory.
They circle slowly each in its own tier of a near cloudless sky, their wings still as if frozen, riding the breeze, dipping and rising, going nowhere, needing nowhere, riding, riding, looking down at the wetland, and circling, until with a shift in the breeze the vulture vortex shifts east, and you watch them shrink, thankful that they are simply out for a flight, and not finding a meal in the reeds and trees where all the other birds live.
As you wander around looking for a place to build a temple, looking for eden, looking for nirvana, stop and simply sit, listen to the breeze teaching you the Dharma, the clouds chanting the sutras in a harmony beyond your hearing. Look down for you are in your temple, sitting in eden nirvana at your feet.
A reflection on case 4 of the Book of Equanimity Koans