The seed speckles the snow like buckshot piled neatly under the branch where we, fingers numbed, tied the little chalet to the lowest limb of the ancient maple. The birds stand staring as the squirrel swings slowly in the breeze.
The finches are struggling this morning, searching the lawn for the odd clover seed that’s yet to be reduced to dust by a summer where the rain has painted our world with a palette of parchment, ochre, leaving us wandering an increasingly sepia world.
We know that the rains will come again, that nature’s green will return, however briefly, before winter encases us all in its white mantle that we pierce at our risk.
The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.
The abiding Buddha nature of birds is demonstrated by their calm ability to carry on conversations in the presence of interacting humans, who are too often deaf to the sounds in which nature immerses them.
But when we speak to the birds in a crude facsimile of their native chirp, caw and trill, they pause to listen, strain to understand us, wishing only to let us know their thoughts, their love of nature, and just how shocked and disappointed they are at our inability to exercise our stewardship.
A single snowy egret sits on the lowest branch of a long barren tree, where hours from now a thousand birds will arrive for still another evening and night.
He stares at me as I am mindfully vacuuming, watching carefully.
I pause and ask if by chance he is a Buddha and he lifts his long neck and peers around in all directions.
I repeat my question, and he lifts one wing, which I know to be his way of saying, “I, like you, am imbued with Buddha nature, and I with mother nature as well, and if you doubt me ask one of the countless Bodhisattvas who will arrive in hours to study the Dharma well into what will be a wet night.
We bow our heads and utter words not to the cicada speaking through a spring night or the beetle crawling slowly across the leaf searching for the edge. We bid the crow silent, the cat mewling his hunger and lust to crawl under a porch awaiting morning, the child to sleep. The stream flows slowly by, carrying a blade of grass and the early fallen leaf.
Each morning I drag myself from bed, slowly engage my legs, and amble into the bathroom where I peer into the mirror. Each morning I am surprised that I am the same as I was they day before, and yet the mirror by all appearances, has grown another day older. It is, I suppose, the nature of mirrors to age, sadly for them, and as I turn away each morning I wish the mirror a good day, certain that it cannot help but mourn its ever increasing age.