The melody arose from the most unexpected place. They heard it deep within the woods and even the birds fell silent peering around, searching for its unrevealed source. It carried on for several verses and then, as quickly as it came it was gone, the final note carried off by a spring wind. No one entered, no one left the woods that day and though many searched no instrument was found and the trees of the woods grew silent at the searchers’ approach.
Today in odd places, at the most unexpected moments, a child will smile without reason, a young girl will laugh, the young boy will stroke the neck of a wandering cat, and in that place at that moment there will be a simple peace. Only the children will notice this, though it gives lie to those who deem peace impossible. A child knows that it is only preconceptions and attachments that blind adults to the peace that surrounds them.
Last night the actors trod the boards carrying us on their backs. This wasn’t Pittsburgh but we believed it so. We’ve never been to the Hill but we walked its blighted streets. In the mirror we are white, but not last evening. He is five years dead but last night August Wilson escorted us to a place we had never imagined, and we were all too glad to visit.
There is a language spoken within a family that no one outside speaks. It may sound familiar but listen carefully and learn otherwise. It is so with my brother even though there are thick walls between us and yet, in a few words intentions are obvious. He keeps me far from a place I’d just as soon not go and in her panic my mother hears only our words and not their hidden meaning. It is when we fall silent the conversation begins.
When a leaf leaves the tree it falls precisely where it should. When a flower petal is carried off on a strong wind it comes to rest in the proper place. When you smell the sweet aroma of next summer’s roses use the nose you had before your parents were born.
A reflection on case 32 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye) Koans
He is, he claims, a practitioner of feng shui, and will, for a nominal fee, arrange our home in the harmony it requires.
His fee, of course, is nominal to him only, and hardly one we would incur with the expenses of a new home, with two of too many things, and none of some necessities, which our local merchants will provide for their own nominal fees.
And I don’t know that I want to pay to watch him move two small pieces of pottery and rehang our art so that whatever Chinese gods he channels will be pleased, all while taking our home away from us and leaving a place of his we merely inhabit.
I saw a picture of you today, although I can’t be certain when it was taken, and while I can easily say that you look exactly as I remember you, that is saying nothing really, for moments after I took the picture we said goodbye to each other, intending to meet again, knowing the chances of that were minuscule.
I have returned your picture to a place of safekeeping where, some months or years from now, I will pull it out and remark that you look exactly as I remember you, but more importantly, perhaps, I will be keeping you alive, and in this fraught world, that is something to be appreciated, even if you haven’t the vaguest idea it is happening
Be well dear friend, and if not, be eternal for a bit longer, be you dead or much alive.
There was a time that now seems so very long ago, when I would freely admit, sometimes claim to be American, if not acknowledging my time in the Air Force as well.
Those days are gone, as is the place I knew, now morphed into somewhere much the same, and entirely unrecognizable, and I am American by proximity, knowing my welcome has been worn out for me elsewhere.
It need not, ought not, have been this way, political seas have long ebbed and flowed, but I, we, knew we could remain afloat on our constitutional raft, built to ride out whatever storms might blow our way.
We know, or have an abiding hope that this, that he and his band of marauders, will pass into history, a dark cloud finally pushed aside, but despite the shortness of his tenure, I can only nervously wonder what will remain.
Last week it was hers but we felt it ours, and wondered why her furniture, her life was impinging on this “our-ness.” Today it is ours and empty, and it has a deep sense of “whose-ness,” where we can see how easily “ours-ness” might return. Next week it will be our home and we will impose our us-ness on it and it will bend to our will as we will bend to its, in the marriage will be complete.