Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Blank Slate

Today is a blank slate (with appropriately noncommittal skies) on which I can write anything.  There’s music in store at the end of it, a leider recital, and the delicious taste of peach oolong right now, but the rest awaits the chalk.  The motions of my hand, to summon it.
“The Moving Finger writes, and having writ, Moves on,”
as Omar Khayyam tells us in his Rubaiyat.

Misspellings I remember written on the board in school, and errors in equations, to be erased and fixed—are there erasures in life?  The satisfying clapping out of nullified chalk dust from erasers, out on a rock or building wall outside?  The poem goes on
“nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
The opposing school of thought maintains that nothing is written in stone.  Is it or isn’t it?  I feel sometimes as if all my actions have been carved deeply in, chiselled in large sharp Roman letters, my life set in its path as surely as the milestones marking off the road.  But as I learned when doing archaeology on the St. Bernard Pass, milestones can be moved—again undoing the whole equation.

A crow walks on the little hill outside my window, black and proud under the young fruit trees of the growing orchard, leaving no tracks.  My writing him down is all that keeps him in the picture, now that he’s strutted away.

Beginner’s mind, we are reminded in the class on mindfulness I’m taking now Wednesdays at noon.  Don’t let the stories about everything pile up and weigh you down.  Live in the moment, let it go.  The moment is enough.  Beginning honeysuckle on the vine, venerable lichen on broken branches, the writing of nature on the uncluttered slate of my attention.

Let today be what it will, then.  I will not try to direct it, just to be receptive, observant (which implies a kind of rite or sacred quality as well).  Let today be.

image:  slate blackboard

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