The way is hard, the snow is packed, and deep, but also thawing so it is a difficult walk. I come to the brook and it is flowing heavily with the melting snow. The dog is irritated with being on leash, used after weeks of it, to being free more or less always. I am feeling both lazy and not, and contemplate the shortest route, but find myself instead continuing on to and to a place where I am sure of being able to free him, at least for a short leg of it. There is little life, no squirrels or birds, or maybe there is, but I am just completely oblivious to it. My mind is chewing and chewing. I am mostly looking at the ground, to make sure my footing is secure. In fact, I take the whole walk more or less one step at a time. Looking down until I emerge upon the open field, where I look up and feel a sense of space, and a starkness of beauty.
I find myself thinking about someone else’s poetry. It is a good thing, this, to have their words in my mind their feeling of restlessness, their feelings of uncertainty, and self doubt. It takes away the ugliness of my own thoughts, the outhouse of my own mind, and firmly plants some other seed in my head. When did I stop daydreaming about some book, or some television show, and start daydreaming about the past? When did philosophy get replaced by gossip and Facebook arguments? In my day to day. I like her words in my head. Suddenly I no longer want my own words in my own head. I want to be free of it. It is like I am sitting, on the big hole, with my small body, and I have fallen into my own shit. I need someone to come in and drag me out. I think about hanging my paintings on the canvas wall of the studio and having 10 people standing around commenting on my work, and then turning around and commenting on theirs, how it made my own work better. I remember how I felt jealousy of the girl whose fairies and gnomes lived in brown logs covered with moss, I still try to draw like that, but my magic lives in other artistic realms. I remember how jealous I was of the girl, whose Italian marbles and expensive carving tools set her apart from my plaster and bins of recycled clay.
But this interaction, this was nutrient rich stuff. It was manure. It fertilized my mind, instead of just being my own stinking mess.
This must be, the purpose of sangha. To fertilize growth. To take your mind out of the sepsis of your own filth.
I stand on tiptoes, and look out the curve of the crescent moon.
My legs ache, from knee to buttocks, and my lower back, from the work of walking on this dense wet snow. Calories in, calories out, if only it were that simple, body chemistry does not always follow logic. I think of that Facebook argument, a little star in my mind says, but wait, boys are genetically different from girls, it is in their DNA. Her argument is flawed. I hate interacting with others though, it brings a desire to withdraw. Ah. I hear the brook babbling, I listen for it to tell me something, like saying the next song on the radio, it will be some message from the universe about ______. Then I forget to listen. The brook is not actually saying anything, and I realize it is like my thoughts, I should just notice them, be aware of any obstacle (is the path flooded from the height of the water, should I pre-empt the possibility by taking this other path? Do I have it in me, sweating and breathing hard from the effort of this snow, to back track if the path is flooded) but nonetheless, not let it spoil the quietude of my mind. The brook is beautiful, like a song, I tell someone else, you are not alone in your thoughts flooding your mind, and meditation doesn’t seek so much to quiet them, but to accept them, and the dichotomy, or is it irony, is that by accepting it, they become more quiet, more pure.
The path is not flooded.
I continue on, the sun is set, and the darkness is overtaking the light, but as I emerge from the path, and my feet are once again on solid ground, I feel invigorated. Alive.
Best of all, is the moments of freedom, from the worn wood, and familiar odor, of my own mind.