This darkish exuberance of spring rain! The face of the little brook is rain-pocked. Many registers make up the song of the small cascade: if I listen with all of myself I can hear their divergence and singularity as well as their convergence.
The woods’ margins are a charm of thrushsong, goldfinch, bullfinch. A single yellowhammer flips over the hedge.
Beech leaves have begun their acid-green emergence into air, water, light. Dog and I are kneedeep in ramsons and bluebells, lit by the occasional creamy wild arum. Each time we come to a storm-felled tree across the path, its continuation the other side is a little wilder, a little more dense with bluebells until we’re wading in an ultraviolet stream into the heartlands.
My many selves run ahead of me into their own thoughts, into yesterday and tomorrow, leaping recumbent tree trunks and little ravines carved out by rain. From time to time I gather them back and we walk together in the present moment, in presence.
I have no hat on and I let the rain enter all of me. We are one another. That is simply how it is. The discriminating mind thinks ‘me’, thinks ‘you’. In this moment I am also, for a moment, the rain; as I am the fresh hoofprints, again, of roe deer and the passing deer that made the prints.
And of course then again I am ‘me’, this conglomeration of waves and particles, walking here in Larcombe Woods, alone and never alone. I crave what we all crave: this dropping of the ego-barriers, this dissolving into and out of all space and time at once, this slipping of the leash of separateness.
Beside me, a wren whirrs our of the ivied ruined walls of the old quarryman’s cottage. Ahead, the path gives out. I’ve reached the human limits here: the huge oak, long-felled across this particular path, has a girth and limbs beyond my climbing power. Below, the pond is today a tarnished mirror, murky, muddy, a receptacle for whatever I wish to impose on it simultaneously with being its own distinct watery self.
The bodhi is not like a tree
The mind is not a mirror bright;
If there is nothing from the first
Where can the dust alight?
My boyfriend scribed that Zen koan in a card to me when I was 16 (you could call him spiritually precocious). I’m still considering the paradox of being and non-being.