He cannot be certain when he lost it. He isn’t even sure where he lost it. He knew he had it, had it for years, and then, once when he looked for it, it was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t all that upset at the loss. It was more that it was familiar, that he was accustomed to it, not that it had in intrinsic or extrinsic value. In fact, he had already replaced it the moment he noticed it was missing. Still he couldn’t help but wonder where it had gone, and why he hadn’t noticed its loss at the moment it occurred. Or had he? But ego could be like that, and it was comforting to know the replacements were stacked up and waiting.
They gather this time every week,
they would feel lost if they did otherwise.
The don’t do it out of any sense of duty
or higher calling, and they expect
nothing in return for having done so.
They aren’t even following directions
or obeying some unwritten rule.
They object to most rules,
demand logic before even pausing
to consider requests for action.
Holidays do throw off their schedule
but they work around them as best they can.
Theirs is a joyous group
and only the swings groan
under their laughter as their feet
reach up to kick the clouds,
before night falls on the playground.
In my dream last night, I was lost
in a city of mostly dogs, but what was odd
is that they were all standard poodles
who only wanted to lick my hand and cheek.
I tell you this not because the dream
was unusual, it was in fact rather mundane.
I didn’t awaken with a damp face,
and there was no indication I
had been visited by a dog’s tongue.
I tell you this because you must
imagine how truly strange it was
for all of those dogs to meet
but a single human lost in a dream
that they couldn’t hope to comprehend.
It would help, she said,
if you would stop thinking
of yourself as Sisyphus
and all of life as the rock,
you might actually, one day,
begin to enjoy what you do.
It would help, he said,
if I could be like
a great blue heron,
grow wings and take
to a summer sky leaving
all of this behind me,
going wherever I wish.
Perhaps, she replied, it
is better that you see
yourself as Sisyphus, for
everyone knows that you
have no sense of direction.
If you are seeking the way
do not consult a map
and most certainly
do not follow in the footsteps
of the wisest person.
Do not ever ask directions
for it is only when
you are utterly lost
and have no idea
which way to go,
that your every step
is a step along the Way.
A reflection on Case 37 of the Shobogenzo.