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what the heart saw

I’m slowly recovering from the operation ten days ago: still painful when I move in certain ways, but healing very well, thank you. No coughing and please don’t make me laugh. Sitting — at the computer and in meditation for instance — is least comfortable. At our zendo, twice-weekly sittings have continued with Jen and Malcolm taking turns as timekeepers. I did lying-down meditation in an adjacent room and snuck in a few short naps. I practiced paying attention to my breath’s awareness right up to slipping under and then as I returned to awareness. Just as I try to be conscious of approaching sleep at night and re-awakening the next morning.

Six of us met at the cemetery on Thursday. Rain set in the moment we began to stroll among the graves. stopping here and there to read a marker, note a monument, and be as attentive of our steps as we were able to. At intervals one of us rang a bell in Thich Nhat Hanh‘s tradition — to remind us to be present in that moment. We gathered briefly under the canopy of a dense cedar to chant the Five Remembrances. A little later, under another tree, we stood to remember the departed in our lives, to serve each other hot tea, and to pass round Nicole’s chocolate-chip cookies. And bow in silence.

Two grave markers left an impression on my heart. One simply spoke of Our two boys. Peanut and Cashew. May 5, 2003 (I may have the date wrong). The inscription on another was hard to read but the stone-cut image unmistakable. Tears even now. 

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
(six-word novel attributed to Ernest Hemingway) 


3 responses »

  1. Glad the recovery is going well. Enjoy the day!

    • thank you, nathan. I’ve been thinking of you several times, of sadness, of leaves falling, tears in my eyes as I recite the jizo chant. May you be happy.

  2. ross bay cemetary is one of my favorite haunts. i actually feel very connected to life and am comforted about the idea that i will one day be no longer here when i walk through there. and the history lover in me loves reading the stones and imagining other lives. when others tread the same streets i walk on.


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