"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: Buddha

a buddha . . .


Sometimes, it feels like we are charging around trying to do as much as possible in a limited amount of time. Yesterday, my daughter C. and I had a dim sum lunch (her birthday treat) and we went window shopping at a handful of stores that we like to browse in afterwards.

After the surfeit of Christmas gifts, our browsing was short-lived in a couple of shops. And so we headed to Starbucks for a hot drink before parting ways and going home.

Derby Farm is a favorite store across the street from Starbucks and we decided to peek in because there was a large “SALE” sign in the window. I spied a large griffin statuary that reminded me of a number of gargoyle pieces that we have scattered in our yard that we purchased almost twenty years ago. This griffin reminded me of ones that you might see guarding the Notre Dame in Paris. I was momentarily tempted but it wouldn’t survive outside during the freeze/thaw of our winter months here in New England, and it was way too big to put anywhere inside the house.

Last night, C. sent me a snapshot of the griffin that she had taken with her phone as a memento of our day out together. Right away, my eye caught the peaceful smile on the buddha seated beside the proud griffin. The coiled curls on the Buddha’s head and especially the boldness of his ears also won me over. In Asian cultures and especially for the Chinese, the shape of the ears called “Buddha Ears” is significant because well-shaped ears like this signify an awareness for and ability to listen to everything. Take a look around at people’s ears sometime and you’ll see how greatly they vary in shape and how only a few are delineated as boldly as those on Buddha statues.

Because there was a 20% storewide sale that the shopkeeper mentioned aloud yesterday when we were in the store, I phoned to ask how much the Buddha might cost. Turned out that it was very affordable and I purchased it on the spot. This weekend, I’ll drive into town to pick it up.

This year on February 19th, the Chinese year is represented by “green, wooden sheep”. It seems to forecast a calm year and I am looking forward to it after such a tumultuous one last year.

Now, we have a peaceful Buddha to grace our home as well. Thanks to Serendipity and to C. for taking the photo and sending it along!



buddha weighs in . . .

M., my daughter, sent me this message today as a follow-on to the revelation post yesterday:  “life is to be enjoyed, not understood.”


a standstill gives way. . .

sunrise at thacher island, cape ann -- photo, a. dalton

There are periods of time when everything seems to come to a standstill. Last year was one of those times. From the autumn through the end of the year, family misunderstandings abounded. Then they took a turn for the worse. During that time, my three canaries went through their yearly moult. Silent as stones, they sat lethargically in their cages for weeks. Tiny feathers littered the floor and down floated in the air. I gave them egg food to supplement their diet; then gradually added back their usual song food. Often, it took awhile before the birds would sing again as their feathers grew back in. During this standstill, no sounds were heard at all, not even little peeps.

Two years ago, somebody gave us a good-luck money plant. It was about four inches high and sat on our kitchen windowsill. Since then, it’s had a couple of intense growth spurts. I repotted it twice and moved it into the other room as it got taller. In November, as I adjusted the support stake, the thin trunk doubled over and almost broke in half. We bandaged it with a splint taped around it, but the plant looked like it was not going to make it. Distraught, I started misting the wound where it had cracked open, four feet midway to the top, hoping that the added moisture would reach the tiny leaves above. The lower leaves began to discolor and fall off, one by one every other day.

The winter solstice arrived on December 22nd and the days began to lengthen and brighten up a little. As I cleaned the house in preparation for the holidays, I came across an old string of prayer beads made out of fossilized coral. Not knowing where to put it, I impulsively wound it around the old bronze Buddha which sat on the maple chest under the skylight. A day later, I found another string of prayer beads made of fossilized bone that I looped three times around a second Buddha, the silk tassel dangling like a pendant on the gilt statue’s chest.

One snowy day in January, I heard soft chirping noises. Short snippets of song followed. Soon, even the bird that hardly sang at all was joining the other two in song. After four months of eerie silence, a cacophony of canary song filled our rooms. Nothing had changed except the passage of time and the quality of light coming in the windows. The maidenhair fern made a comeback too. As for the money plant, we counted twelve new shoots appearing over the course of three days in the same week that the birds started singing again. As I watered the plants along the west side of the room, I also noticed that the Trader Joe orchid plants had branches of new growth with flower buds on every plant. We couldn’t believe all this was happening at once.

According to the I-Ching, a period of stagnation will eventually turn into its opposite. Change is the only thing that does not change according to this ancient book. Although I have had my share of ups and downs, it is still hard during a time of despair to have faith that things will improve again. It is human nature to worry that perhaps this time, the dark will stay forever, even though we know from experience that it is darkest before the dawn.

This dawn arrived, ushered in by a chorus of birdsong, a multitude of new leaflets on the money tree and a dozen orchid buds ready to open.

I am thankful and filled with awe. Hallelujah!