Aging, Art, Autumn, Awakening, awareness, Beauty, Beginner's Mind, Buddhism, Camera work, Celebration, Change, Consciousness, contemplative photography, Dahlias, Death, Death & Dying, Dharma, Elderhood, Faith, Flowers, Gardens, Heartfulness, joy, photography
I was standing in the garden watching the flowers dance in the wind and the wind bringing an occasional brief anointing of gentle rain and the knowing in these old bones that winter is coming and this might be the last night for many of the colorful characters to experience life and for me to stand here enveloped in their energies and play with being a photographer, pretending I know what I am doing.
I seem to spend a lot of time just standing and gazing not really looking for anything and trusting that I know it when I see it – and you, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t and honestly I am just not any good at being the judge of that anymore and I am beginning to notice a discrepancy between what appears to be in focus on the camera and what appears to be in focus on the computer screen and I know these beautiful old eyes are getting tired….but still, sometimes a flower and a certain quality of light come along and there is that excitement all over again that same delight and wonder and sense of joyful accomplishment I felt as a child before life taught us to forget our true nature.
I saw Dawa or rather I sensed Dawa and looking up, there he was looking happy and content and satisfied as though he’d just come from Jackie’s kitchen and dined on something wholesome and tasty. We exchanged pleasantries and spoke of how perfect the day was (rainy, overcast, a hint of winter’s chill in the air, and the apple’s coming to fruition as another year of gardening comes to an end. Speaking without thinking I asked: “will you be here next year?” “I don’t know,” he replied evenly as he reached out to fondle a dark red Dahlia blossom just beginning to unfold and I caught a hint of laughter in his eyes and the up-lilt to his answer and taking the bait I asked “well, will this flower be here tomorrow?” “I don’t know” he said, smiling. I had just taken an image and shared it with him. He beamed exclaiming “beautiful beautiful” and we shared a moment of happiness. Mudita = appreciative joy.
“We do not know when or how we will die. We only know we will.” “Where will you go when you die, I asked to which he replied, “I will go to the Lotus flower” which I initially heard as: “I will go to the lord of the flowers;” which, come to think of it is pretty cool either way. I asked Dawa if he believes in reincarnation and he didn’t hesitate to say “yes,” adding that “it is difficult to practice being a human, it takes much time.” “Each has to find what is true – what is good…. and follow it. Pointing to the flowers, he said “the wind moves the flowers but if you pay attention you see the flowers move but the wind…. the flowers move in the wind but where does the wind start and where does it stop?” It is like this with us, there is something in the heart and something in the mind that does not move, we are distracted by the movement around….we see the movement – we do not pay attention to that which does not move.”
“It could freeze tonight,” I said, seeing in this moment a flower in it’s prime and knowing in a different moment it must shrivel up and die.” I looked at him smiling and bowed. “Dawa, I might be here tomorrow and if you are also here tomorrow I will be glad to see you. But if you are not here tomorrow I am glad I saw you today. ” To which he nodded and said “yes, it is good that we were here today.” And we both wondered off.