We have had three storms pass over us in the last few days. Strong winds. In a similar way, each day contains a lot of conditioned events which pass through – a succession of little births and deaths. There is always a dialogue between these changing conditions and our underlying nature.

A monk asked, ”How can one escape from birth, old age, sickness, and death?”
Lingyun said, ”The green mountain is fundamentally unmoving, but the floating clouds pass back and forth.”

Lingyun Zhiqin, 9th Century Chan Master

Stop complaining

There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

A metaphor

When our English teacher gave
our first writing invitation of the year,
Become a kitchen implement
in 2 descriptive paragraphs, I did not think
butcher knife or frying pan,
I thought immediately
of soft flour showering throught the little holes
of the sifter and the sifter’s pleasing circular
swishing sound, and wrote it down.
Rhoda became a teaspoon, Roberto a funnel, Jim a muffin time
and Forrest a soup pot.
We read our paragraphs out loud.
Abby was a blender. Everyone laughed
and acted but the more we thought about it,
we were all everything in the whole kitchen,
drawers and drainers,
singing teapot and grapefruit spoon
with serrated edges, we were all the
empty cup, the tray.
This, said our teacher, is the beauty of metaphor.
It opens doors.
What I could not know then
was how being a sifter

would help me all year long.
When bad days came
I would close my eyes and feel them passing
through the tiny holes.
When good days came
I would try to contain them gently
the way flour remains
in the sifter until you turn the handle.

Time, time. I was a sweet sifter in time
and no one ever knew.

Naomi Shihab Nye, Sifter

Posted in Uncategorized