Thursday, May 27, 2010


Given my former lifestyle and its related Karma, having made it to this age I'm familiar enough with the receiving end of the Big K in its many forms, and with the volatility of the Karmic Exchange. This morning though, was something new for me.

As I was freewheeling through the village down to the train station, I approached the little Shinto shrine that sits right by the roadside midvillage and always has, probably a shrine there 1000 years ago. It's tended mostly by the elder ladies of the village, who keep it clean, put flowers there in season, come up the mountain past our house to cut sakaki branches for it in winter, put some sake there, and a rice ball or some mochi, with incense on special days. Like every religious structure, it's about a lot more than religion; it embodies the local spirit, reflects the care of the community. The tenets of religion are actually the least of it by now - the whetherness of gods and so on - it's the collective face of the village that is kept clean and presentable to all who pass by, a symbol of their unity. To let it slip into dilapidation would be unthinkable. To violate the shrine or its trappings would be unhuman.

A description that fits Crow perfectly, but he of the darkness couldn't care less about such folderol, it being morning, he being hungry and lord of it all anyway. He always knows where the food is. Monkeys do too, but Crow, an early riser with wings, was there first, filching a big fresh rice ball from the shrine altar. He was just digging in, on the very altar itself, when yours truly, a spontaneously deputized agent of the Karmic Division, came quietly freewheeling down the road.

Crow's dark eye spotted my approach; he stopped beaking rice long enough to grab the rice ball with both taloned feet and take off fast, but fast was no longer an option, given the dead weight that is a rice ball. High was no longer an option either, so crow had to fly low, and in only one possible direction away: i.e., across the road right in the path of Karmic Agent Brady, who was quickly drawing nearer with weighty retribution, leaving but one heartbreaking way to escape the impending karma: by lessening the overall weight. So crow did the unthinkable, what is pretty near crowly impossible: he let go of the rice ball in mid-air, let it fall into the road where somebeast else could get it, in order to gain the speed and height he needed to avoid the jaganath that was speeding toward him, me atop the hell on wheels watching the whole show with amazement that Karma was using me as an agent... Apparently I had turned a spiritual corner of some kind, which is news to me.

It's probably not cool to complain after being Karmically deputized, but I wish the crow had been a monkey...


Tabor said...

You did your duty, Deputy. ( I guess it goes without writing that Teh Big K has other meaning here in the U.S.)

bob said...

Hilarious, sir.

Entre Nous said...

Reminded me of the suicidal squirral that flew out in front of my car, stopped, and stared at oncoming fate barreling down upon him. At the last possible second the light bulb over his head went off and he missed his meeting with The Great Squirral In The Sky... Or, there were three more behind the bush and they were all playing a game of chicken. Either way, the very next day on my way to the post office there was a mooshed squirral in the road, right there. Jeese.