April 21, 2011

From the Department of Zen Buddhism

I still have blank, white walls. I curl up on an air-mattress each night and don't own a single piece of furniture. Unless the 13 inch television from Goodwill counts for something other than a lack of commitment. It still isn't connected to our apartment cable, three months later. I hung a scarf above my window until the damp spring air asked for something pink, warm and light around my neck. Now the white horizontal blinds stand out against the off-white walls until I pull them up to watch the moon.

I have a favorite street performer - a sixteen year old violinist - and I know how to almost guarantee myself a seat on the metro ride home. When the tourists ask for directions, I can offer landmarks. I know how many steps I have to climb when the metro escalator stops working. The security guard of my office building knows me by name. "Good morning, Miss Emily." He knows how to say "no" without making me feel silly, when I ask him if he needs anything the times I leave the building mid-day. I know the days my favorite Eastern Market painter is painting on-site by the pants he wears; I can spot them a block away. Color spattered pants means he has a brush in his hand.

I've never been so temporary and so present at the same time.

I'm a walking zen koan, perhaps. In the calm, I reach back to the storm and the fire and the dizziness - not to be confused with chaos. Have I learned to live with both - the calm and the storm? If it's all circles, they'll come back around again and again. But perhaps I'm also learning something more consistent: how to stand present in the temporary. And perhaps I'm cultivating a life sustained by this moment in time.


  1. I am actually angry at the universe for not bringing us together sooner.

  2. Oh, I know. We have lots of lost time to make-up for! xo