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.
His extended wings momentarily block the sun setting his feather tips ablaze. His vermillion talons grasp the waiting branch threatening to break it from the tree unless is bends to his will. His curved beak arches against an orange sky holding tightly to the retreating sun. I can only watch a majestic moment and believe that somewhere the must be a God for nature alone could not conceive of a creature of such beauty, such passion.
Of course when we lived up north we wouldn’t have imagined this, sitting on our lanai watching the sun set the patchy sky ablaze sipping small glasses of port and wondering if a light jacket might be in order, as the beaver moon of November waxes slowly.
The cat, curled at our feet cannot imagine the icy wind howling down the street, the foreboding clouds offering their first flakes, knowing this is a small taste of what nature will bring forth before we could again sit in shirtsleeves on our porch.
We do not like to admit that nature laughs at us as we pretend to bend her to our will and desires.
We dam and reroute rivers, but the river knows well that it will return, flow where it wishes, for it will be here long after we have returned to the soil.
Still, now and again nature grows weary with our meddling and unleashes her fury in ways we are incapable of stopping, and laughs when we seek divine intervention from the utter depths of our powerlessness.
The cat is stalking around the house, wary. She gets this way after coming back from the vet. She actually likes the vet, and not only for the treats she gets, and the pawdicure. But she must stalk and be wary so we will be remorseful for having taken her to the vet. And she knows we will be, given enough time and back turning. We are so predictable. She wonders if we were like that with our children when they were young. Probably, but we must have forgotten. So she will go on with our training, for a cat must bend humans to her will. That is an unwritten law of nature.
I had a meeting this morning with a number of the birds that inhabit our wetland.
The said they wanted to retain my services, although how they discovered I was a lawyer is wholly beyond me as I retired several years ago.
They asked me to draft a cease and desist letter to all Americans, demanding that we stop tweeting, or more to the point, that we call our inane and sometimes violent messages something other than a tweet for that is the sweet trill of their songbird cousins and we are besmirching nature with each new posting.
Pause and consider why so many questions require you, you feel, to consult your watch, to call up a calendar, to appoint time. Time has no appointments, time is not an arrow, though we strive always to aim it, to send it flying in our desired direction. Time is a point in space, surrounded by all ten directions, going toward none of them. Ask why this moment is not enough, why you need the next though it does not exist. What are you trying to escape by searching for tomorrow, lingering in yesterday? Yesterday no longer exists, so why do you assume tomorrow does, and what of this moment, which exists only now, and what of the red leaf sitting in mid-air awaiting your awed attention?
A reflection on Case 6 of the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record)