Minding Mindfulness

A Tsunami of Snow

A Tsunami of Snow

I welcome the New Year lying in the bath. I am cold. I have the flu. My head hurts. But I am soothed by the water which I inchworm up with hot the moment that the standing water cools. I’m back in the womb – floating in amniotic fluid. My mother is in charge. I have no cares… no thoughts. The water is placid… no waves. I am “in the moment.” The hamster which mindlessly runs round the wheel in my head has had a heart attack and died.

My first husband disparaged my tub life. A shower man himself, he would raise a judgmental eyebrow, turn down his mouth and ask, “How can you lie in your own filth?” Is it any surprise that marriage failed?

A cup of water lies within reach. I’m a bit light-headed: I should be making an effort to re-hydrate. I don’t feel like drinking. I think of the Ebola victims and their need for hydration. I don’t have Ebola, but the thought spurs me on. I force down some fluid.

A cloud as heavy and solid as a flying saucer prepares to land in The Valley.

A cloud as heavy and solid as a flying saucer prepares to land in The Valley.

I try to read the current issue of The Sun. It is on loan. I am supposed to return it. Apparently I doze off, my hands relax and the top half of the magazine takes a dip. Startled, I come to my senses and sponge-dry the wet pages. The paper is dimpled. When the paper dries, it is parchment stiff. Gingerly, I peel the pages apart. They will never be the same. Will my friend ever loan me anything again? I should order my own subscription.

In the January issue, Leath Tonino interviewed David Hinton on the wisdom of the ancient Chinese poets. Hinton commented on the notion of an afterlife: The minute you buy into the idea that some part of you will hang around, you’ve removed yourself from this world of trees and clouds and birds. And if you’re not in this flowing world of change, then you’re nowhere.

2014 03 05 winter 002I take Hinton’s point… to a point. I agree with his notion that “you’re nowhere,” but I think the essence of your being lingers on long after you are gone. I often think of my long gone grandparents and at some level we are in-touch. They are close; I feel their arms around me. The memories warn and sustain me.

A number of poems translated by Hinton follow the interview. I particularly like “Drinking Wine” by T’ao ch’ien (365-427 CE). The concluding lines read: Picking chrysanthemums / at my east fence, I see South Mountain / far off: air lovely at dusk, birds in flight / returning home. All this means something. / Something absolute: whenever I start / to explain it, I forget words altogether.

I love these lines. The “birds in flight… returning home.” Explain? Hardly! I don’t have the talent to unravel the mystery. All I can do is pay attention and marvel at Nature’s way.


Someone out there walking The Bluff wishes you peace. I do too.

Someone out there walking The Bluff wishes you peace.






About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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6 Responses to Minding Mindfulness

  1. lisagaldalgibbs@yahoo.co.uk says:

    Happy New Year Blessings dear Doris.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful reflections,
    they are so uplifting and inspiring.
    Lots of love, Lisa 🙂 xxx

  2. timeout2 says:

    How nice to hear from you, Lisa! Are you still going to W4W? I return to London mid-February and will be at Word for Word on Feb. 11 and 18. Perhaps we can catch up there or after group at coffee. Thanks for reading.

  3. Marty Wolff says:

    That beautiful peace sign was done by Hal Walter and his son, Harrison on their cross country skies. Thought you’d like to know. See you tomorrow.

  4. timeout2 says:

    Thank you, Marty, I will write to Hal – I also need to buy a copy of his latest book.

  5. Andrew says:

    “Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.”
    -Joseph Campbell

    I’d heard this quote a while back and always loved it. I think people are so concerned about tomorrow and that it ruins, or interrupts, their now. This is something that’s always been at odds with my catholic upbringing. They ask you to believe that promise (or damnation) of a future eternity makes the sacrifice of now so worthwhile. I strongly disagree, which I usually do when it comes to religion. Nobody knows, nor is it likely they ever will, until they head down that road never to write home. Enjoy now for its bounties, tomorrow one may get hit by a bus.

  6. timeout2 says:

    Dear Andrew, Thank you for your comments. I agree with everything you wrote. Especially thank you for the Joseph Campbell quote which I have copied in my journal. I am trying to be more Zen-ful – a difficult task for those of us who are drowning in “stuff.”

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