Friday, October 31, 2014

the careful things

Once I knew the careful things.

With my back turned to the entry door, I could tell by name the people entering the zendo where we practiced zazen or seated meditation: The sound of their robes was enough.

I knew how to whistle like a cricket.

I knew how to hit a bullet-riddled target at 300 yards.

I knew and cared about the difference between "nauseated" and "nauseous."

I knew how to hide by being still or polite and recognized others who were likewise hiding.

I knew long words and short ones and could employ them to effect.

I almost knew how to walk like the animal I most wanted to walk like -- the elephant.

I knew careful things because I trained to know them and thought that if I knew enough of them, somehow I would corner and capture the serenity I imagined could be captured.

There was purpose and direction and a kind of protective smugness about knowing the careful things.

As the autumn squirrel buried nourishment for the spring that was yet to come, so I tucked in and made room for bits of careful nourishment.

So many careful things, always finding room for just one more.

But now it all seems a bit too much, like a suitcase packed and packed and packed some more until the realization imposed itself: What makes you think you're going anywhere?

Careful or careless, what's next will always have its say -- does it really need anything more?

"Careful" is needful phase, sort of like learning to walk. But once having learned to walk, isn't it just time to get going?

1 comment:

  1. I've always blundered along with a measure of dumb luck. All my plans and cautions never really worked that well. Maybe i hadn't honed them, dunno.