A tattered yellow book, ZEN FLESH, ZEN BONES sold for 50 cents at a used book store. Thin, old tape hangs the front cover onto the manuscript’s body; the back cover is lost to moves from Los Angeles to Berkeley to Chicago. Inside, over 100 stories and problems and ancient teachings from 5 centuries of Chinese and Japanese monks. Fun stories. Confusing stories. Stories that stick to me and make me breathe more slowly, with more appreciation of the world around me.
I’ve hiked the hills of Berkeley in California seeking solace, meditated the sand blowing across the ocher and limestone faces of dry desert cliffs at Red Rocks in Nevada, and stood in the glory of woods in Chicago where the low Fall sun slanted through golden maple leaves. What does it take to feel alive? To grasp the moment that is now, the dazzling mystery of the world we are in?
Somehow, we are lost. Rich as we have become as a nation, brilliant as we are with technological advances, as far as we’ve gone to explore space, still, we are lost. In our busy-ness, in my busy-ness…lost. Loving as we are, well-meaning as we are, we can lose ourselves; striving as we do just to make ends meet, we forget how deep beauty really is.
And it is deep.
So. This thread, KOAN OF THE WILD, is a play on the phrase “Call of the Wild”. A few observations,Â a kind of poetic puzzle. Writers know that words are poor substitutes for the real deal, for the actual EXPERIENCE of living. But here’s my humble attempt, anyhow. Poetry in the service of Nature.
An offering: Moments connecting with the Wilderness that is our World; moments that have taken my breath away. Sometimes, all it takes for me to feel the alive-ness of being alive is for me to run to the woods, the scent of loam and leaves on the river caught in the wind.