It is the eyes that fall in love, the heart that follows like an always faithful shadow, and the mind and reason that are bound to darkness and silence.
That is what I learned in my dream last night, or my recollection of it, for dreams may fade in the sharp light of morning.
But dreams have a potent magic, a holiness really, for there I can resurrect the dead and if the mood is right, bend back the arrow of time, render it dimensionless, all the while I remain constant, but certain with any luck, in someone else’s dream, I may be a child, a young man, or any of a thousand other roles I cannot imagine.
The most important lessons he taught were in those moments when he was absolutely silent, the smile across his face shouting across the background din of everyday life, his eyes wide with a sort of childish awe that I had long since given up as adolescent.
The child sees everything for the first time regardless how many times she has gazed at what we adults are certain is the same scene, a pure iteration, hears each call of the cardinal as a never-before-heard song, not the now boring chorus of a too long repeated lyric, its melody now painful.
His lessons too easily slipped away, as he did a few years later, mourning a poor substitute for memories that eased into the damp ground with him, but the smile of my granddaughter at seemingly everything and nothing, her laughter at the squirrel inverted from the crook arm of the bird feeder defying the shield below to stop his constant thefts, the giggles at the clouds filling the sky with characters I could not hope to see, brought him back, and with him the joys of my childhood long suppressed.
It washed up on the beach this morning, stopped right at my feet, as I stared down at it, examining it carefully. It message was clear at first, a tale too hard to swallow, of creatures tossed about by a storm that no one saw, from an age in which no one now alive could have experienced. The message described a magic land of which it gave only had a brief glimpse, a land that was constantly in flux and perpetually out of reach. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine such a marvelous place, and as I did it receded back into the ocean from which it emerged, merged with all of the others, and I was left with only this dream of it.
It is a precarious balance, really, more and exercise in tottering and hearing than in standing still. Some prefer stasis, others, I included, find it leads inevitably to a loss of energy, to an entropy from which it is difficult to escape. I don’t walk along the edge of the precipice, but I do peer over amazed at what lies below that I hope to never see up close. Is a precarious balance, but one that can be maintained if you just close your eyes and sense what actually lies around and beneath you.
Yesterday a small dog, walking its master down the block stopped and stared at you, as you stood on your porch. You stared back at the dog, eyes locked on each other, while the master fidgeted on the sidewalk, afraid or too bored to look at either of you. You realized this was just the dog’s way of teaching his master patience, or perhaps of simply delaying you from what it was that brought you to your porch that you forgot in engaging the dog. Eventually the dog dragged its master on, and you returned to the house, having done nothing but stare at a dog. It was clear in that moment that a dog must have Buddha nature but yours was deeply in question.
It is a precarious balance, really, more an exercise in tottering and hearing than in standing still. Some prefer stasis, others, I included, find that leads inevitably to a loss of energy, to an entropy from which it is difficult to escape. I don’t walk along the edge of the precipice, but I do. peer over, amazed at what lies below that I hope never to see up close. Is a precarious balance, but one that can be maintained if you just close your eyes, and sense what actually lies around and beneath you.