I am mystic, thief, madman, all that, considerably more, never begging, always taken what is arrayed before me favor curried, passage guaranteed coins gathered, stored so there are none to cover the eyes or pay the ferryman’s wages. I can turn wine to water and hide fish in the midst of loaves, the trick is to distract you so the order is reversed, a sleight unseen. I am truly the prodigal son vaudevillian and fall guy and the spikes are a bitch but the view is something to behold.
It is said that you can never go home again presuming, of course, that you have left at some point. The fallacy of this statement is apparent, for there is often nothing preventing your return. What would make the statement accurate is that you can never go home again to exactly the same home you left for your leaving alters the place and your return creates only a new status quo, it can’t restore the old one. It is like this with rivers, the Buddhist knows, you never step into the same river twice for each steps has you greeting new water and even the rock upon which you step has microscopically eroded. So feel free to go home again, for there is much to be gained from returning to a place that is so familiar, and yet which you have never before actually visited.
Mom died, the text message read, similar words we’ve been hearing too frequently but always leaving us with the same hopelessness. The words my brother, estranged now, estranged then, come to think of it, said two years ago in a quickly left phone message. I thought of confronting him, but when he never answered, I knew I couldn’t say what I needed in a text message. When my mother-in-law died my wife and I were there, watched as she took her final breath, easy, calm, as if to say, this passage is easier than I thought given all the time I asked God to let me take it. We didn’t feel helpless that day, more like silent observers, standing on the pier as the ship slipped into a vast ocean on the maiden voyage a very new sort.
It is between the pushing away in the pulling back that it happens. It is there that the seasons progress, one to the next. Winter cedes to spring and is, ever reluctantly, replaced by summer. It is there, as well, that the leaf emerges from the bud and reaches into the sky. And feeling the taste of the sun, unfurls, welcoming rain, which it channels into the earth, the earth where it will, all too soon, fall, there to decompose, only to repeat the cycle at some unimaginable point in the future. We see none of this.