Tuesday, December 15, 2009


ZEN TARGET


On the train tonight a lovely young woman sat in front of me who appeared to be a Zen archer; she was carrying the long bamboo bow, its full length carefully wrapped in a fabric traditionally dyed a splendid rare orange that bore other bright colors, like the bingata of Okinawa, in a pattern that was also traditional, of anciently stylized flowers, birds and butterflies, the bow reaching from the floor to well above the luggage rack.

Affixed to the bow by a wide leather wrapping was the lady's quiver of arrows, basically a capped tube about half the length of the bow. It too was a gorgeous object, finished in a grayish, elegantly patterned cloth and set with silver fittings. Circled at intervals with bands of smooth gray leather, it had a shiny brown hard-leather cap at the top, held in place by finely braided strips of gray leather.

Seated atop the leather cap was a figure I took at first to be a netsuke of an ancient god or something spiritually similar; I leaned closer for a better look, without being intrusive - this was Zen, after all - and saw that it was a tiny figure of Goofy, wearing baggy blue pants.

The arrow and the target are one.

4 comments:

Shirley Dockerill said...

I can imagine this so clearly from your writing.

R. Brady said...

It was indeed a visually impressive moment... and I seldom see Zen archers on the train anymore...

Xibee said...

Love it. It's exactly my curious experience there.... Just when you think you know what's protocol, you find you can forget it.

And when you're unaware and you forget it, and shouldn't, it's ...huge...

Shirley Dockerill said...

i saw several archers on the subway yesterday. fabby :-)