Sunday, June 7, 2015

Present moment, hummingbird moment

Yesterday I went outside to cut some basil to put with the tomatoes I was bringing to an elderly friend who had a bad fall a few days ago. At the moment I cut it the smell of freshest basil bloomed, just as the sun came out, and I thought, Life is perfect.  You might think that at my age, having practiced Zen for quite a few years, I had thought that before, but I don't think I had. Life is perfect. The sickbed, taxes, the weather. Everything.

As I say, the sun came out. And I may have been softened by some lovely things that have been happening around here. We live in a neighborhood only ten minutes from downtown Columbus, but on a ravine with woods in our back yard.

Two days ago I walked into the living room, and there outside the big window lay two young whitetail deer, munching. Both were bucks with antlers at this stage. We've had deer before, up to five once, but only one buck. Usually it is does and their young.
I moved out of the room. When I looked again a few minutes later, one had left. The other saw me again and lazily got up and left, too. I thought how lucky we are that we don't cultivate that backyard into a shade garden, which it once was. It's fine for the deer to lie on the plants and eat what they like.

Later that day I was sitting with a friend at the kitchen table when motion outside the window caught my eye, and there was a hummingbird drinking from the red petunias in the hanging basket. It darted from blossom to blossom to blossom, then gone. Present moment, hummingbird moment.

As if all that isn't enough, Saturday morning I saw a baby bunny on the front porch, a bunny small enough to hold in the palm of one hand. I just don't know anything more appealing. He fled when he saw me there.
Each sighting ruptured for a moment my usual reality, that habit of going-somewhere, doing-something, the way nature in the city does. I am aided in stopping by Zen practice, of course. I have been reading the remarkable blog of Tracy and Koun Franz, One Continuous Mistake. On a parenting blog, Mothering in the Middle, she talks about the Japanese worldview in contrast to our own carpe diem.  Ichi-go ichi-e means "one time, one meeting." Or, your only chance, right here. 
Our backyard in spring

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