Sunday, May 11, 2014


Nothing like the stillness of a mountain rice paddy on a calm early May dawn, like this one. The paddies up here have by now been flooded, harrowed to readiness and let to wait with the infinite patience of water.

So it is that these fine days the mirroring mountainside is full of blue sky, passing clouds, now-and-then rainrings and rainbows, the mountains themselves, airy grace of hawks, curlicues of swallows and after sunset our entire universe, gliding over at a night's pace. But for now in this emerging morning it is a rare, pure stillness. You can stand here long and gaze at the sight, let it fill you with your own stillness, that brings to the front of mind a number of things that for some reason were stored way at the back...

Now and then, as so often with actual still life, along comes a slight breeze that shivers the water, scrambling the view till a new calm comes. In other nows and thens comes a crow or a hawk to walk the water, sending out perturbations with each hungry step, or up pokes a frog for a breath and a look around at the newday world, after a night of full-hearted amphibian carousing that I caught part of when I came home from the city last night, fell asleep to, woke up in mid-night to, then went back to sleep to. Like the sight of the widening rings and the feel of the reach of stillness, the sound is kin to the natural mind.

It is a good thing to have such a gift at my door for a few days every Spring at about this time, to re-mind me with the bounty that stillness is, nourishing to all around it, a truth that water knows as fully as anything can be known. Folks who have no time for such vastness might as well just stare at some kind of small screen.

Stillness begets all true nourishment, including rice.

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