Fifty-One Years

It’s a stance. A Yes to life.

How did I get to this?

From searching for a Master all my life to realizing he was here, next to me.

Had been, forty-nine years. The shock of it. An advent.

I gently grab three flies off the window pain,

expedite them into the morning air.

 

We’d taken the curtains down together, seven heavy horse blankets, Swiss ex-Cavallerie,

black metal curtain rod, length of the chalet.

Copper screws, white plugs out, strong steel screws, fat, grass-green, new plugs in.

Fierce, unaccustomed exercise for hands used to type, stir, sweep, do a little scrubbing.

He handed me the power drill. First time. Wavering, terrified, held, felt it in motion.

Drilled, hit impenetrable resistance. Drilled another spot.

Metal supports back in, two still wobbly, must redo.

Fell into bed, exhausted, arms sore all over.

 

Woke up, saw the master.

Watched red robin hop from one fence post to the next, stay perched a while, fly off.

How did I recognize him?

Like looking through an optometrist’s different, suddenly stuck-on-my-nose, magical lens.

 

Next day, reworked curtain supports together.

Drove to the garbage dump, silver-blue Honda loaded with boxes of files, stacks of papers, perished IDs, letters, handwritten in blue ink, newspaper clippings in various languages, trails of multifarious lives, lived intensely, savored, shared.

Sun streaming through the day, wild white crocus sprinkled across the meadow.

Selfie of shadow at sunset.

 

Sunday. Woke up with another sentence: When you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

Another shock. You must have no master. Be your own.

Mountains pale, translucent like the morning sky.

Leisurely breakfast, read NYT, Style Magazine. About ferns, envoys from deep time, uncoiling.

Grab red garden scissors, cut frozen bits off rose bushes, pick larch branches, torn off by the wind, from meadow.

Peel white asparagus stalks. I can only love when I am a master.

Drop peeler, knife. Just sit there, hands folded, at the kitchen table.

Something wells up, deep. Streams from the center of my chest.

 

No wonder. As a child, his parents fed him with water from the Giant Springs. Like Cretans do at home, in the mountains of their island, fetched fresh spring water for their baby son. Imagine. Grow up fueled from the source of the Missouri. No wonder: the steady stream of his love. All our life together. The loyalty. Spanning fights, flights, my solitary trek to Kathmandu, playing-dead depression, disease.

 

The stance. The always instantly flowing Yes!

Got there. Now. Here I am.

Breakfast time. Yes. I’m coming.

I’m together. Can be together with you.

 

NB: The Japanese language knew the secret: There can be no NO. Contortions at the Intercontinental reception desk: how to tell her we don’t know how to deal with a female client, by herself? The awkward, stilted circumlocutions listening in English to Japanese speeches.