The snow diamonds were laid out in wide swaths, a valley of shine. But the windows of the van refused even a moment of clarity so the diamonds came streaked in sand and frost. The driver bit his nails for four hours straight, one hand and then the other, pausing only to pass the occasional truck with both hands on the wheel. We sat behind him eating Swedish fish, expensive airport sandwiches and gas station jerky, waiting to be delivered.
I look out at all the outside here and think, everything is so vast. My right first rib jabs and jabs. It’s been shouting this for days.
(Ugh…can you tell I’m half way through a meditation retreat?)
Today I take vows of refuge. The only vows I’ll have ever made. I’ll stand in front of witnesses and my whole torso will beat in a visible rhythm. And my hands will pour and my knees will do their own little dance. I’m a body full of fear and joy.
When I take refuge in the Buddha I’m asking my body Show me how to stay. When I take refuge in the Dharma I’m asking my body Show me how to trust.
When I take refuge in the Sangha I’m asking my body Show me how to serve.
This isn’t Buddhism with a capital B. This is a body learning how big it is.
This particular ends. He takes his violin out to the porch and plays a refugee song pulled from his belly. We stand pinned between a body of stars and a valley of juniper and granite. And then we go, trying along the way.
The branch burns out from the center like a flame. We take hold. We climb.
These eyes bring the world in blurry. A kaleidoscope of colorlight without the sharp geometry. Not everything has to be instantly clear. Or ever. The clematis will still smell sweet.