living with mistakes, ain’t…

About 15 years ago I had to write the thing below because I felt so wretched after doing what I had sworn I never would do. Sadly, it is best to never say never. Life is easy and it can be hard; life is short and it is long. It hurts deeply because sometimes it is astounding.

 

Leaping with Daisy

maybe the biggest mistake of my

life was telling you that I would 

always look out for you and that 

you were the best dog that ever has been.

I often said, when you looked at me with

an eye of uncertainty, don’t worry

my friend  you’re safe with us. We 

look out for our Daisy Dog, the 

best dog that ever has been! Now, 

of course I can’t know if you were 

the best dog that’s ever been, but

for sure you’re in the top ten; No!

make that top three.

I wrote about you with love in the 

story of the Schnud, and was 

always proud to tell of you a story or two; 

in fact I still do. That time when you 

found the Schnud who’d flown 

into a tree; that day you herded the

afternoon crowd at the winery and when 

you leaped with the jackrabbit not

wanting to ever catch it, because the 

running and jumping was the thing.

Even after you got sick and couldn’t 

walk, you wanted to play and did

your best to catch that moldy old

tennis ball, front paws moving in

anticipation with eyes watching for

the juke, that surely was coming, ‘cause

I would try to fool you, wouldn’t I?

So, when we loaded you into the 

hatchback and told you we were going
to the dock-schmock! you weren’t 

ready for the ultimate juke.

It wasn’t ‘til the doctor, who was nice 

enough to come out to the car to give 

you the needle and the little assistant who

was holding you as you were put to death

was watching us aghast as we were chanting 

“The Scripture of Great Wisdom”  she and us crying

so wretchedly that our sobs tore the strands 

of my heart in two. You looked into

my eyes and I knew…

Oh, sweet Daisy! What a great mistake

I made, in thinking that

I knew the future and

that I knew myself and that I even now 

know what compassion you are 

capable of. I know you are leaping 

with me as I try to run from the 

feeling of despair of having turned away.

Avalokiteshvara!

Great Kanzeon! Kuan Yin!

Please help me to help Daisy

so she knows it was a mistake and 

that I will always try to learn from

it and never abandon another being

again. Especially the one who is writing

this. Thank You Kanzeon Daisy,

Regarder of the Howls of the World…

 

Homage to all the Buddhas in all the worlds!

Homage to all the Bodhisattvas in all the worlds!

Homage to the Scripture of Great Wisdom!

all falls apart and gathers in…

Just finished listening to “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling. 

I use a terrific free service called librivox.org 

Their purpose is to provide a worldwide selection of books in the public domain for download as text or read by volunteers. It’s a beautiful project that is all volunteer. “Kim” is read by someone named Adrian Perzellus and he is wonderfull, does all the characters, very talented and professional, yet an amateur, who does it for the love (amatore), of it.

I had read “Kim” back in 6th and 7th grade along with a bunch of other books deemed as young adult fiction, books that were usually well illustrated and captured the interest of kids like me. Among them was “Treasure Island” and “Robinson Crusoe”; all three of those books I re-read about 8-9 years ago and saw that what I had read as a kid were, (of course), abridged versions of the original. Well, those were kids editions. The full editions of those three books are definitely for grown-ups. Not in the sense they contain anything (still) considered inappropriate, but what the actual story lines were.

“Treasure Island” deals with the consequences of growing up in a house of an alcoholic abusive father, sure there is adventure but what sets it into motion is a too often true story.

“Robinson Crusoe” is great story about survival and the details of practical and psychological and spiritual ordeals one would encounter, and how one changes as the result of facing, day after day; the unknown. The last 1/4 of the book deals with life after being rescued and returned to civilization. Among the many things I learned, was a lot about wolves and their interface with humans was like for probably thousands of years.

Anyway, I read them previously in full editions and had recently download “Kim” and listened to it again. When the weather allows I go for a daily walk and listen to these librivox.org offerings. (It took me about 14 months to listen to David Hume’s “History of England from Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688”.) I was astounded, and so very sorry that I hadn’t encountered David Hume before the age of 70, but that’s one of the drawbacks of the autodidact approach to learning (although it balances out, because one does get educated but not necessarily organized).

So, in listening to “Kim” again, I heard things I don’t remember reading and I gained a new and deeper admiration for the author. 

The book is about the meeting of many cultures in a certain place and time as experienced by the two main characters. A Tibetan Monk on a spiritual quest and a 13 year old biracial/ethnic orphan trying to find his way in the world and grow up while discovering his personal history.

It is in my top 5 of all the books that I’ve read, and I’ve read many; many of them from the great spiritual literature of the world and an array of disciplines.

The language, the respect for humans and their natural ways, and aspects of the seeking for Truth and re-connecting (Re-ligare), to That which one feels disconnected from, yet know not what it is; is of a very high order.

I wept softly and shortly about a dozen times while walking this Fall and Winter and listening to the story of Kim. It is elegiac and completely human. It’s about love.Each time I wept a little it was with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart for that book being written, published, printed, forgotten, found, read and posted on The Web for us to hear as someone far away reads it and 140 years later does justice and brings a soft heart to a beautiful story.

This is the kind of true story that transcends and encompasses, the fear and doubts that are omnipresent in our daily culture today, also, it is the story of how we got this way. Empires, power, subterfuge politics, greed and the daily life of most beings who show practical kindness day in, day out, to each other; even as the world seems to be on the edge of falling apart.

Throughout, the book offers the truth that the world does inevitably fall apart, but its not a problem.

Spring, hearts, bikes…

A sunny day after snow, snow, snow. As I was walking into the library, a mother with two little girls, maybe four and six years old, were having a conversation, while walking through deep slush in the parking lot, that its about time time to get the bikes out and prepare for the Spring. The smallest of the girls brought up the fact that she did not have a bike. Ahhhh! Spring!

I was reading Malachy McCourt’s lovely memoir “A Monk Swimming”; stories and memories of being an immigrant teen in New York and growing up in a millieu of artists, con-men, drinkers, dreamers, producers, writers, cadgers of the crumbs, future movers and shakers, plus a fair contingent of mopes and gapes. I loved encountering his story on Brendan Behan’s dying at the age of 41, from alcoholism, in a hospital in Ireland. As a nun/nurse was attending and wiping his face gently, Behan says to her, in thanks, “May all your sons be Bishops.”

Typical alcoholic, wants to get at the heart of the matter but is always pulled aside by glibness and cynicism. I’ve been sober now for more than half my life and I still have problems with the caustic remark that has no purpose and no future, just disrupts the moment. Poor fucking Brendan. Then again, he made the world richer, because his heart was in the right place, but his kidney’s and liver and pancreas died before his heart, and it had to follow. And then there’s Spring.

And, it turns out, our heart’s always in the right place, just sometimes needs a Spring, or several, to melt some snow.

 

Teachers, doctors and students…

The Earth has a sickness. Some of its cells are attacking the host and there’s nothing going wrong.

It is what it is.

There’s the Earth. There’s the cancer. The Earth may get sick for a while as its natural healing powers come into play, or it may get really sick over a long period of time and die sooner than the average Earth. Then again, it may just be going through a flu sort of infestation and just be miserable for a period of time, feeling sick and having digestive issues, high fevers, chills, generally feeling puny and then slowly bounce back and go back to work. I think it has the flu.

Similarly,

I think humans wouldn’t have the flu if we didn’t eat other creatures. My understanding is that the flu virus’ vector of swine, fowl and humans is necessary in order to thrive and become problematic, at times reaching  pandemic distribution. It seems that interaction would not occur commonly if we didn’t raise pigs and fowl to eat, because without the set- up of humans, birds and pigs living in very close proximity; the table wouldn’t be set (so to speak), for a Planetary-Flu-Virus-Graduation Party.   I’m just saying.

Frankly I don’t know how things would or could be different than they are. We are the Virus and our vectors are greed, hate, delusion and the Earth needs to rest and naturally sweat and purge for a while. I bet we won’t be comfortable with the medicines or the healing process.

So, what’s the point of it all? I’m sure lots of folks have opinions as to cause, effect and possible outcome of this illness.

On a slightly separate note;

I’ve cherished an opinion for some time that in a Student/Teacher relationship the only one that really matters is the student, because a good student will learn from a bad teacher, but an indifferent student won’t learn much from a great teacher. Unless, that great teacher can use a variety of skillful and sometimes vivid ways of motivating the poor student.

So.

Earth, great teacher.

Humans, indifferent students.

Motivation. Coming up!