I try to sit here
find my inner landscape,
that chamber in the castle,
the divine dwelling,
and all I hear is
a bird singing outside.
I know the grass is growing
one blade at a time
this first whole day of spring
but I don’t hear it,
only trust that
it is doing its work.
Am I doing mine?
And what is it
I strain to remember.
The bird sings on,
oblivious to my question.
She is in synch
with the nature of things
as I sit on the side.
As I walked to feed the birds these past ten days, I noticed how everything looks in the snow. Today is the third snowstorm SW Ohio has had in a short period of time. Lucky me, I’m retired though an active retiree. The first part of 2010 has seen me with less structure than I’m accustomed to.
So I have time to look. Yesterday, I chanted in front of the fireplace; afterward, just sat watching the flames. In the winter, it’s not the creek that’s the focus but logs burning into nothingness. Recently the ice and snow have captured my attention.
I have a small Buddha statue in my side yard. For most of the years I’ve lived here, I had him under what I call my “leaning tree.” This is a small pine that is close enough to my side window that I can watch the natural activity from my desk. I’ve made a commitment each winter to feed the birds. Sometime last year, I felt it was time for the Buddha to have a new view. I decided he should face west so I moved him several yards from the tree to sit under that window. Now he can watch the birds instead of being knocked down by the squirrels.
The second snow storm in this series, I noticed he was up to his head in snow. In a moment of compassion, I brushed several inches of snow off so at least he could watch his birds. This morning, the Buddha was gone. Disappeared. He was in a snow drift of his own.
Isn’t this what it’s about, anyway? Losing your head isn’t such a bad thing. For me, it’s usually been a good idea. Although I’ve been considered smart all my life, my mind has been my biggest tormentor. That is who tells me negative things about myself, assaults me with shoulds, and too often keeps that general worry current going. When I get a message from a statue, I take it seriously. As I sloshed past that window, I acknowledged, “the Buddha’s head has disappeared.” This my snow koan of the season.
This is exactly the sentence that came to me as I drove home today, early afternoon, after chant practice.
Scott, Kabir, and I were at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center practicing our live chant for Mahashivaratri. “Om Nama Shivaya” of course, the four part one that is so especially lovely. After singing and playing along with the cd, Scott had us do it acappello, coming in one by one and really blending with one another. Wow!
Then we sang with harmonium and mrdanga. We had the meditation hall to ourselves–well, us, the shakti, and the gurus. We shared and laughed and had a full hour and a half practice. Feeling excited about Thursday’s satsang.
It was somewhere before Mt. Healthy that I saw them. A line of trees stood magically with their snow covered branches, right there along Cross County Highway. That’s when the sentence came to me. I thought: how bhakti. How perfect this day was. How beautiful my drive home. I quit listening to the music playing in my car. I should write about this, my mind told me. Yeah. As if I could explain. Really. But close enough is good enough.
Many of us have had blissful moments when we are no longer part of nature, not even in it but of it. Oneness. Time stands still. This is what makes life worth living. A cosmic reminder.
Thank you, Tree Goddesses. When I got home I put out some more bird seed for my neighborhood birds. On a special stone under the leaning tree just outside my writing window. I feel as if I gave back, not that I needed to. But still.
in the last 24 hours, I saw a rabbit, chipmunk, and deer
but it’s the great blue heron gliding
across the creek that excited me the most