Thursday, June 28, 2007


Back on the cushion this morning, after a long hiatus -- my meditation has been a perfunctory five minutes here or there, once or twice a week, for a couple months. When I come back, out of practice, I find at first that meditation is a little dry, a little thin. It's not actually a quality of the meditation, of course; it's a quality of my mind. I attribute it to the meditation, because it's in meditation that I first notice it. Without stretching and exercise the mind's circulation gets sluggish. Its perceptions get duller, its activity more repetitive. In a word, it ages.

Morning. Overcast sky, like a gentle, rumpled gray quilt drawn up over the sleeping world.

A couple weeks ago the neighbors across the street cut down their willow tree. I understand: willows are not easy to live with. Messy trees, strewing mower-choking twigs over the lawn at all seasons, and strong greedy ones, seeking out water pipes and tearing them up. I would never plant one in my own yard. But still, it was a beautiful tree, and I will miss it.

A busy week at work. Our fiscal year ends June 30th, and there are lots of unexpected little tasks associated with that, things that have to be done to wrap up the year's data neatly and put it to bed. Housekeeping. I feel that I am only now beginning to learn the rudiments of housekeeping. Long ago, I was struck by something William Morris once wrote: have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. The words of a man who didn't have to look after children, of course, but still, they're important words. I ran across a summary of Feng Shui principles somewhere, recently -- something I've never paid any attention to -- and I was arrested by the same sentiment, differently expressed: of clutter, it said that things that occupied your space that you no longer use or enjoy siphon off energy. That strikes me immediately as true, importantly true. I spent a while this morning, after I sat, working to unclutter my massage/meditation/exercise room. Uncluttering the whole house will be a life's work, I am afraid -- even uncluttering the massage room will take months -- but fortunately, working toward uncluttering is its own reward, has its own effect of clearing my mind, slowing me down, drawing me away from busy repetition and toward spaciousness and creativity. The thing about clutter is that it represents things that I am done with but haven't let go of. The notes from pathology weren't filed, because, although I had de facto decided not to review them again, I hadn't quite accepted that I wasn't going to. Filing them meant turning that from a decision-by-default into a conscious choice.

Cry willow, willow, willow
My life, my life, my life.

Desdemona's plaintive song. Some things are harder to let go of than others. But in time what we will not let go of is pulled out of our hands anyway.

Standeth nu on laste leofre duguthe
Weall wundrum heah, wyrm-licum fag.

Now where my dear companions walked
Stands a high wall, worked with dragons.

But I'm getting ahead of myself: I'm saving The Wanderer for when I'm at the beach this weekend. Good morning, dear friends. I'm thinking of you.

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