I found the Zen garden this evening.
I found it by sitting across from it in the parking lot of Morris Library, listening to a rapper excoriate expound on love. By thinking about how much I wish my life were easy enough simple enough to let love be important enough to go stark raving live for.
(Oh, how I wish. Many things are important enough humandignity truth injustice honor disloyalty compassion to craze drive me—but not love. That one was mene mene tekel upharsin weighed almost five years ago now.)
I mean love in the romantic sense, of course—for all my disdain avoidance of it, it's the only form of love I discuss. But then, some things are sacred—even to me. My love of my family, my standards of honor and duty loyalty to my friends: These things will rarely be put up for public delectation.
But my soul self? Yes. It's yours here.
No writer can do less.
My sanctum sanctorum mind has a window. It's just a window through which only I can it's difficult to see.
The world is intensely, immensely beautiful around and against me—even now, cross-legged, muscles aching, thirsty and hungry and exhausted on the harsh carpet of my living-room floor—even now, fury and pain beating fiercely in me, as real as any raven at my already-open window. Even now the world is nearly too lovely for me to bear.
The cool of coming autumn woven with the almost-silence of slumbering trees scents the night air though my window. Leaves have begun—here and there—to drift. The human-made, inhumanly perfect, faint tones of chimes tuned to the spare complexities of Gregorian plainsong ring over the temperature-tuned harmonies of crickets.
Somewhere outside, my fox hunts his dinner under a night whose stars will shine throughout the coming darkness without a single cloud to dull them. I'll feel their light on my face as I sleep, barely filtered through the single white curtain at my bedroom window and the white netting that drapes my bed. The gentleness of their smiling will not hold me safe from my nightmares; but it will comfort me when I wake, and wake again, and its fading will flavor my last, deepest sleep at dawn with a touch of silver to leaven the gold of daylight.
I will waken to sun that loves my skin, that will touch it gently through the window opening on my bed, and leave it warmer, browner, with not a hint of injury to taint the smell of sleep and the dew-softened breeze that will mix on it.
This is the world in which I live, sleeping and waking. This is the reality through which I breathe and move as surely as a fish in water.
These words are the only window I can give you.
May your own reality rest gently on your skin this night.
(And this next weekend month fall year while.)