If you ask when is the best time to seek wisdom I will tell you at the stroke of midnight and I will walk on a lighter left foot. If you ask the next day when is the best time to seek wisdom I will tell you at highest noon and I will walk on a lighter right foot.
A reflection on Case 39 of Dogen’s Shoboganzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)
In my dreams I wandered the alleys of Lisbon searching for a familiar face, and many came close, but no man stopped me and asked if I was, by chance his son, for he dreamed I was what a son of his would look like.
Now I have no need to wander for I know he is in a military cemetery in Burlington, New Jersey, and I doubt he had any idea in life he had another son, or a daughter in Italy, for weekends were quickly passed when you had to be back at the base by midnight on Sunday.
As I was leaving the surgical center they handed me the sheet with my post-procedure instructions, a sign of faith perhaps, that I was sufficiently out of the sedation to know what I was given.
I tucked them in my pocket, anxious to get home, to get coffee and the food I’d been denied since midnight the night before just in case something went wrong and they had to put me fully under.
I did get relief from my pain but I tossed and turned in bed my sleep coming in fits and starts, for no apparent reason, and when I read the instructions this morning I checked off the side effect insomnia and gave a half check to irritability.
As a child, I only wanted to stay up until midnight, actually a bit after that time, to see in the new year.
I didn’t need to be at my parents’ party, it was too loud and the adults behaved more like my kid brother and sister as the magic moment approached.
And it was supposed to be a magical moment, although no one could tell me why that was, or what made it special other than turning a page on the calendar.
I no longer try to stay awake until midnight on New Year’s Eve having long ago learned I don’t’ want to be around adults acting childish, and knowing January 1 is no different than December 31, save that I will miswrite the date on checks for at least a month.
a day, clouds drop rain replacing tears locked inside stones and cloth red and blue unseparated still worlds apart orderly ranks all at attention and silence thundering anger a mad world soaked in peace only until midnight.
On the radio this morning the DJ played the classic “In the Midnight Hour,” and I pause to reflect on the fact that midnight is a moment and cannot be an hour, by definition, since the halfway is only a point, not a range, and you cannot put a home on an hour, for time waits for no man, and waiting is what a home is all about, and around.