Thursday, January 29, 2009

Completing the Blessing

Sunim Soen Joon sent me a card from Korea year before last, congratulating me on passing my massage exams. Dangling from one corner of it by a narrow bit of yarn was a silver mylar cut-out of a bird in flight. The size of a nickel, maybe.

It's been my bookmark ever since. The card goes in the book, and the bird dangles outside. It picks up the light wherever it is: it looks, in fact, like a little flake of bright sky fallen to earth. Its tail has a kink in it now, and the yarn is badly frayed. It won't last forever. I'm thinking of it as Tibetans think of blessing cords and prayer flags: when it finally frays completely, and the bird is (as we say) lost, the blessing will be complete.

It's how I'm thinking about death, as well: as the completion of the blessing. "For a word to be spoken, there must be silence," says Ursula Le Guin's wizard. "Before, and after."

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