Friday, October 07, 2005

picking up the thread

It has been a fuck of a summer. But now it really IS October, and where does the time go? My experiences with time this summer have also been totally whacked--I live in a house with so many out-of-sync clocks that the hour is always chiming, no matter what time it is, and in between the pendulums shave the seconds down to the bone. At Tassajara time expands and contracts with the turnings of one's awareness, and I noticed this time that the han (the large wooden block that one beats with a mallet to summon the monks to the zendo) was worn considerably away since I'd last seen it.

Imagine a block of wood being struck every morning and evening. It had a motto painted on it, that read something like:
Wake up!
Time is endlessly passing, beware, do not waste time!

When last I saw it you could read the whole thing. Now the last few letters of "time" are worn away, hacked off by the percussion of three years of mornings. When a han gets fully worn away (it starts with a splintery crater in the center, and erodes, and eventually splits down the middle) the buddhists have a big ceremony and burn it, I think.

What mallet has eroded my clear lettering? What splinters has time hacked out of me? And Hector, who I loved at Tassajara, who I thought of as I dodged stones in the path, as I passed his room doing firewatch, hitting the blocks together and blowing out lanterns, who I sat with and discussed "Jules and Jim" and argued with and adored, time took him, or he grew impatient with time, and or time became unbearable to him, or he lost faith in time, or time narrowed like a strait jacket, or just chopped off his head--at any rate, he cashed in his chips and he is gone. I didn't get to say goodbye.

It is ironic, I got to visit the grave of Sanchi, the wonderful Tassajara dog; I even left cheese on the grave (Sanchi loved cheese--he took his arthritis pills in it) but where is Hector? I don't know.

And to me, it became plain, seeing how others had spent their time, that I have been wasting mine, idling it, burying it, taking progress at glacial speed or not at all, though time has certainly been hammering away at me.

So now what?
A Rilke poem begins, "Lord, it is time"

I guess I should leave it there for now.


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