Friday, July 22, 2011

Too Darn Hot

Extreme heat makes for good Taoists. Non-doing is all one can do.

My method is under a tree, in the shade, wearing a humongous hat, sipping from a straw something icy, and looking like the eccentric, the one every neighborhood has, and every kid remembers as that lady.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are We Fiction?

My son, 6, and I have spend the summer working through his school's recommended reading readiness workbook. Yesterday's lesson was the letter "V." Piece of cake, the letter "V." Compared it to today's lesson: fiction vs. non-fiction.

The workbook states: non-fiction is things that could happen, fiction is things that could not happen, things that are pretend. I explain that non-fiction is a lion attacking a gazelle (we saw this mess on PBS), fiction is a mouse in a tutu. My daughter, who is four, puts her chisel against this wall, and chinks out the first brick. "Mice do wear tutus," she says. "Haven't you seen Angelina Ballerina?"

My son brings out the jackhammer. "But what about us, Mom? Are we fiction or non-fiction?" I say, we're non-fiction with conviction but, truly, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


You lean forward into not away from brambles like a normal person, shinny your unprotected forearm into narrow thorn-thronged passages when blackberrying. It is a state of mind as much as it is an activity of the body.

You must forget the goal, and simultaneously have only the goal in mind. It's like Zen archery. You must intuit the nothingness that is the fat ripe delicious warm globe. You must know that already you and the blackberry are one in this phenomenal universe.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Be Like The Frog

I'm reading about Zen. "Reading Zen" is a koan, since one cannot read meditation into the bones. But I'm book-centric, and word-needy, and I have to start somewhere. I'm reading Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.

Some nuggets:

"We should appreciate what we are doing. There is no preparation for something else."

"If we are like a frog we are always ourselves."

So I practiced not preparing for something else, for a second. It was a freeing, terrible second, and awesome in the original sense of awe.

Then I tried to be a frog. My pyramid shape, the weight of me, my goggle eyes. I sat like a frog while I watched So You Think You Can Dance, eyeing the contestants, my tongue licking out occasionally at a bowl of vanilla ice cream. That's the closest I've been to Nirvana.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Working the Edges

I'm a rhombus, shaped like a diamond. I have four equal sides and four corners; they are where I am pointy, flinty, and where I am most ill at ease, at the edges. Wish I was smooth as a circle, serene as the moon. A moon never, as we say, "works at the edge."

Working at the edge is one foot on the scaffolding, one foot in the mist.