Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Putting things where they belong

There is not a petal of a flower or a blade of grass that does not configure the Way.
Ts'ai-ken tan
I am in my semi-annual organizing mode -
- separating Things to Do from the filing in the heap on my desk
- in fact, clearing my desk of everything that is not about a working desk; moving the family pictures to another location.
- actually doing the most important Things to Do

This morning I packed all the recycle into the van to go up to the collection boxes: paper, plastic. Too much of both! I am reading No Impact Man, which has made me aware of every Kleenex I use doing this dusty work.  Paper tissues = trees cut down.  All this paper!  Do we really have to subscribe to the NY Times?  And the local paper, weekends.  Paper.

In that same corner of the garage, I gathered all the rags to go downstairs and be laundered.  We don't check our own oil - what are they doing here?  I don't even use rags to clean, preferring my microfiber dust cloth.  No Impact Man used rags instead of tissues and paper towels.  Sounds like trouble.  Changing habits always seems hard - the old habit fights your intention.

In the basement, folding clothes, I noted that the laundry room is not designed to be the place you store dirty clothes and linens until the next time you need them.  What a bunch of bad habits we have.  I intend to wash all that laundry.  Catch up. And then to form a new habit.

Heavens, what leads to all this?  Maybe the weather.  We are just at that fresh return of autumn, sky a beautiful French blue (I wonder how to make that blue in watercolor), humidity low, welcome breeze.  And it is new moon, the time I usually feel best, calm and organized.  And it is, thank God, no longer August, the month of decaying summer yang.  This is as good as spring, but crisper.

Now I am worn out, and have sat down to read over Robert Aitken's essays on Zen ethics.  I had printed out and stuck in the book his 2000 talk "40 Years of the Diamond Sangha."  I remember loving that, so I read it again.  He decided not to use the occasion to go over "sectarian considerations," (all we've accomplished, bla bla) but goes right to the point:  maintaining awareness of the minutely subtle.  The ephemereal is what's real.
[image: Miraculous Zinnia]

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