If you ask how
can one find the way
I will take you
into the garden
to look at the roses.
Each rose is
of a different size
and color, but which
is of the right size
and which the right shade?
A reflection on Case 71 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
The wonder of clocks in old towns and cities
is that few actually care if the time
they portend is accurate or an approximation.
The importance often seems inversely
proportional to the size of the place in which
it is called upon to render a temporal verdict.
Best of all are the clocks whose hands
have ground to a halt, or gone missing,
for they are the philosophical seers,
sent to remind us that time is our construct
and in the grand scheme of things
exists only because we demand it to do so,
and long before the clock we got along
sufficiently well by being always
and forever in the present moment.
As you slowly approach it
it grows perceptibly larger.
This does not surprise you,
for you are familiar with
the principles of physics.
What does surprise you is
that the details grow
ever less clear as you approach,
as though they retreat
under your slow advance.
You think this strange,
wonder what has gone wrong,
question your eyes, and
finally realize that the details
you saw were not there
that it all was, quite simply, what
your mind wished your eyes to see.