We are lovers of novelty, we want all that is new or clinging to what we imagine are our roots. It has long been this way, you need only look at the map. Hampshire, York, Jersey, and for that matter Brunswick and Mexico. We crave innovation, we always want to be on the cutting edge, forgetting that all too soon it will become the bleeding edge, and we will curse its failures, its shortcomings. So ask yourself if those who live in Hampshire, York, Jersey, and Brunswick, Scotia, and Mexico think they live in a place that is no longer new, left behind in an endless search for something other than what we have right now.
It didn’t surprise him that he quickly understood the cat they adopted during the pandemic for all he had to do was apply basic feline logic, that everything in her new home was either hers or theirs collectively, it was just that simple. He had come from a place, a life, where there had been hers and theirs, simple. When that life ended, as everyone but him seemed to know it would, he came away with that portion of theirs for which his ex cared least or of which she had grown tired. So he and the cat had a comfortable understanding until more and more of theirs became hers alone.
No child, no youth wants to imagine the moment of his or her conception. Now, that is the moment of personhood in some places, a moment when two cells become one and is a life of its own, but it isn’t the convergence of sperm and ovum we avoid, but the act leading to it. When you are an adoptee and only later in life discover your now dead birthparents that moment, that scene is a small void in your life among larger voids you want to, but cannot ever, seem to fill, so it is left to your imagination of time, place, circumstances and ultimately action, but you ensure that scene ends moments before conception.
How many times had they almost met over the years before that evening?
What if the Fates had allowed meetings, what would have changed? Likely everything, nothing, for when they might have met neither was available, he a student imagining himself already in love, or both married never thinking those relationships would possibly end in divorce.
And how many times had they been in the same place separated by moments or hours, so many missed connections.
And then the moment of convergence two lives forever changed, two worlds merged in an unanticipated joy.
You know where you want to go, which is the first step in getting there, but there are countless routes you can take with a variety of obstacles which you cannot see until you have committed to that route, and there is to be no turning back once you choose the route you intend to take.
Think about your selection, do you want the route which seems to be the shortest, or the longer one which might have fewer obstacles to overcome, or so it is said.
Or do you want to reconsider going there, for the effort may be great and the reward nominal, so perhaps it is best if you simply remain here in a place you well know.
If I ask you a where you are standing what will you answer? If I ask you where I am standing what will you answer? If I ask you a if we are standing in the same place and you answer yes a blow from the stick, if you answer no a blow from the stick, if you answer nothing a blow from the stick.
A reflection on Case 69 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Charma Eye)
This morning as the bell signaled the end of morning zazen the whistling ducks took up their song, circling the wetland as if inviting me to photograph them.
They quickly grew bored waiting and flew off to a place I do not know, can not imagine.
Perhaps they will return this afternoon, circle in a duck like pose as I capture them with the long lens, and this will satisfy them for another day, but perhaps they will not return and punish me again for my morning absence.
I have concluded that God created the cat in a moment of exhaustion or of extreme pique. How else to explain such a soft fur covered creature capable at once of a gentle caress and a claw lunging out at a hand or face deemed too close. Why else this projectile constantly launched only at those places it was not to be, fine wood tables etched with reminders of its sudden presence and rapid departure. What else to explain this shedding ball of multihued fur that always curls in sleep in the one place you wish to sit and even when it cedes a seat to you, smirks in the realization you will soon an unexpectedly be half covered in fur. Why this package of fluff and terror crawls beneath your blanket as you verge on sleep curls tightly against you and begins its gentle rhythmic purring that draws you deeply into a world of fur filled dreams.
First Published in ZOOANTHOLOGY, Sweetycat Press, August 2022
If you go in search of Buddha should you see him, do not stop or speak but run away. If you do not see the Buddha run away from that place. If you stop, to take water from the edge of a still pond look carefully, for the Buddha is there just above the water’s surface.
A reflection on case 80 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)