Spring has taken one step forward, two steps back. It’s cloudy, windy and cold today, with temps predicted to dive into the upper 30′s tonight. I’ve been watching the sparrows and chickadees desperately cling to our backyard bird feeder as it sways, and the chimes on the front porch are ringing like it’s a royal wedding. I’ll probably run to the high school track for a speed workout later, but it’s going to be a windy cool one … maybe the last really cool one for a number of months. Or not. The weather these days is explosively volatile.
We got a lot of rain yesterday as a prelude to the cold front moving in. I dashed out of the house for a run during what I thought was going to be a lull, but half a mile from the house the heavens opened and the water poured down. I hadn’t run in the rain for a while and it was actually very exhilarating to splash through the sudden streams and mini ponds that sprang into being. How quickly and heavily the rain fell! I was soaked through by the time I reached our front porch again.
Today was a day off and I spent the morning in silence, meditating, cooking breakfast (oatmeal), and reading quietly. I decided no errands today, just enjoy the stillness. I did just finish watching an 30-minute online documentary featuring Michael Gira of The Swans, available through Pitchfork.com and with footage from the band’s current tour. Watching documentaries about musicians at work and listening to them explain their ideas has always been very stimulating to me. A third of the way through the documentary I received the gift of an inspiration for a poem, which I’m going to work on in a few minutes. This is not the first time this has happened while I was watching a musician documentary – I don’t know if it’s stimulation from watching them being creative or guilt that I’m watching someone else at work. But hey, I’ll take a poem idea when I can get it.
I recently wrote a short essay about an experience I had with the Heart Sutra relating to the day my father died several years ago. It was intended for a sort-of essay contest, but after re-reading the rules regarding the contest it seems they are looking for personal experiences with sutras from the Pali Canon, which the Heart Sutra is not considered part of. So I can’t send this one. Or maybe I will and tell the sponsors to consider it for another occasion. Once again, I’ll take inspiration for a piece of writing when and where I find it. I might post the essay here when it seems appropriate.
It’s weird how the sutras can work — much of the sutra literature is written in a highly repetitive style that was intended to aid in memorization before the days of widely printed books, and they often don’t make the most compelling reading, in my opinion. Much of Buddhist philosophy has a pedantic, almost scientific bent to it, so rather than the pithy, heart-on-sleeve aphorisms of someone like Jesus, the Buddha comes across to me as more like the best college professor you ever had — very smart, cool, but very heady. Yet, the sutras have the power to resonate with you at the most unexpected times. And that’s pretty much what my little essay is about.
The sun is starting to break through for the first time today, and I’m guessing after a little more quiet time and playing a bit with the poem idea, I’ll feel like a run. Running always goes well after a lot of stillness and some head work. I’m happy I enjoy all of it, and to constantly discover new connections between them.