sure-footedness


POSTCARD#308: Chiang Mai: Headache stabs me in the Right Occipital Nerve, on the walk back from the market with backpack full of vegetables, and living things I wash and slice and eat, whispering to myself forgiveness, in the discomfort and heat of the day. Yes, I could stop, fumble in pockets and squeeze out two capsules from their crinkly enclosures, bring to the mouth and swallow with a practised swig from my bottle of water I keep in an outer pocket of the backpack. But not yet, balancing backpack, stumbling slightly on these unfinished side-walks, lumps of concrete roughly rendered, landscapes of pavements we encounter everywhere in the ‘Developing World’ – tell me, is there ever a time when a country becomes ‘developed’, or is it an on-going state of development? Just look at Trump and American politics – okay, enough already… forgiveness.

If only… if only we had the sure-footedness of youth… I almost slip on the wet shiny tiles some fashionable shop has proudly cemented in place in the threshold of its brand new frontage… forgiveness. I shall not, today, slip and fall into the road, and be run down by a heavy cement truck careering through the narrow streets, as they do, on the way to, and coming back from a construction site somewhere in the centre of the town. Not today shall I meet my end under the muddy wheels and tarmac thoroughfare, forgiveness, forgiveness, said in a whisper of unvoiced consonants, over and over.

Then later in the day, comfortable in my room, and what is it? There’s always something about the question that’s gently pondered, not posed, poised, considered… the pause before the dancer consciously walks across the stage; left foot point toe, place on floor, right foot point toe, and so on – complete the action swiftly. It has to be exactly the right question, but always not quite decided upon; what is it? Could it be that the contemplation of what this question is, is enough to begin to know it, without actually knowing it, for all intents and purposes? It just begins to be known, somehow… a kind of indirect situation that just falls into place, as we recognize it and see it thus, induced then deduced, who can say?

Words don’t hold meaning for very long, the question gets forgotten about, or possibly it’s still there in the detached state, just not functioning as a specific inquiry now, more like a wide-openness that’s waiting for an answer. In the same way as there are answers, lying in their own wide-openness waiting to be discovered. A non-verbal alertness, a strange familiarity, a passing recognition that seems to go on opening and opening and opening.


Photo taken from the aircraft window of the Bangkok flight yesterday. Excerpts from an earlier post: Somewhere in a former life

 

15 thoughts on “sure-footedness

  1. Beautiful words and deep resonance in me. It is too easy to fall. Happening in an instant, as if in slow motion, then rising up suddenly, hard surface against head or knee or wrist or as we collide. I have done it, myself gratefully not recently, and I have witnessed it much closer to home in recent weeks. I’m so glad you made it home in one piece, able to ponder the meaning of All as you also let it go. Hugs, my friend. 🙏

    • Yes, take care as you go Shielagh, it’s too easy to fall. Sometimes I fear the hard surface of the floor when I look down, gravity tugs at me. Or the steps on the staircase descending – then I just have to go on and take the next step regardless, you could say it’s being too mindful.

  2. Yes, thank you for the reminder… “Forgiveness, Forgiveness.” I especially must think of this, must make it reflexive as you have. Too often I stew and the Sicilian blood boils. “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! 23”

    • Hi Ellen, thanks for the Bible quote. I’m inclined to think the Sicilian Buddhist just lets everything go and includes the one saying it, ‘forgiveness’.

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