a change in the weather allowed for a long walk outdoors. 25 august 2018

for the past week smoke from surrounding wildfires has shrouded the city, making my lungs burn and eyes water. the smoke-filled grey sky has transitioned to cloud-filled grey sky. the damp air is cool on my skin.

with the arrival of clouds, light plays trickery on the senses—the day looks as if it belongs to autumn, not summer.

i walk the streets and parks. a breeze moves the boughs overhead and carries a few fallen leaves across the sidewalk. a memory surfaces from close on five years ago: an autumnal walk with my partner. we were walking home from the market. while stopped on a street corner i spied a tree whose remaining leaf canopy only existed on its periphery. leaves quivered, some fell to the ground. with the leaves today and the memory, William Carlos Williams’s poem Approach of Winter came to mind:

The half-stripped trees struck by a wind together,
bending all, the leaves flutter drily and refuse to let go or driven like hail stream bitterly out to one side and fall where the salvias, hard carmine - like no leaf that ever was - edge the bare garden.

another gust picked up fallen leaves and they danced across the sidewalk. people are like leaves. they bud and sprout, grow and mature, weather the seasons. some die off prematurely, others fall alone or with leaves they have spent their entire lives beside.

on that evening five years ago, i could see my breath. then and now, the muffled hints of conversation, the din of traffic, the swirl of leaves picked up by the breeze — the interconnectedness of everything.

i am grateful for it all.

#compassion #dharma #interdependence #zen #williamscarloswilliams #daishinstephenson

daishin's chop


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