Emptying

Listening to stories of mendicants traveling from place to place with nothing but a begging bowl, I envy the bowl. The bowl has better perfected detachment, indifferent to whether it might be filled with water or food or dust. I am not there yet. I envy the tree that gave shade, the cobra that levered its flaps like a leathered umbrella opened against the rain. At twilight, as the sun makes its exit over the hills, I envy the wider sash of indigo eclipsing the gold. When night settles over the fields and the last late truck bearing its cargo of lumber or stone crosses the bridge, I envy the errant wind that sends a fig or chestnut tumbling to the ground. I envy the riddle about the sea and the sleeping mat rolled up in the room, for the sureness of what they know of transformation. I envy the lemon tree that knows to grow quiet beside the shed, its white buds smaller and more luminous than the blisters on the back of a heel chafed by the edge of a shoe. And the bird in its branches, I envy that bird though I do not know its name before it arrives— the one whose beak and cry will be the first to pierce the silence of dawn.

 

In response to Morning Porch and small stone (197).

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