"Silence is the mother of sound."
--Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos
When Resting Seeds Take Root
Another day of sunbursts on this incomprehensible trackway.
The illusion of distance evaporates.
Another phase of introduction to wayward travelers occurs
in the groundless land of no maps.
Desert-dwelling wizards between green mountains stir again.
Suizen teachings in the Far North.
Blanket-clad grandmothers in cedar plank houses talk of salmon runs.
Coyote-faced tobacco prophets sit in sunlit caves.
Healers deep in jungles I have yet to meet re-weave the world.
Rinzai caballeros tell me I am one of them now.
Different threads woven into a serape of dreaming.
One thread -- the long-distance view.
This still being taught inside dreams is a Blessing Way,
even though my sleeves are wet from sitting over flower-strewn shrines.
The two crows Beauty and Memory visit again, and again.
I can still hear her voice out in the garden:
"Your Heart-Mind-River has known all along, guerrero.
Stay with the river. It is a river of grace.
Give it voice until its own voice makes yours vanish.
When that voice appears, surrender, and ride the current."
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Shifting shifting the shapes
Shapes shifting the shifting
under the watchful eye of The Great Shaper.
There is no landing place on The Way, even when being still;
only tumbling, relentlessly wandering, a crazy cloud.
And what do clouds do but ceaselessly soak up vapors
and release them again and again as rain, wind, and lightning?
The nectars of different spirit lands,
in whose fine-hearted keeping we have earned a home,
put us on notice to become vessels, cauldrons, hollow bones.
Their freely-offered wisdom is squeezed
into the mortar and pestle of the self.
Half the year is spent grinding up seeds of wisdom,
and then, as Traveler,
the other half of the year we are expected to ferment,
to embody whatever the result.
The desire for escape is put on hold so the full circuit can be complete;
and then, like orange blossom water cascading through soft air,
the medicine radiates outward from you.
What else is needed but these churning tributaries of learning?
All of this is in service of a future that we feel
but which we are not yet able to see.
This is what it means to work for the spirits.
This is what it means when the Dharma takes root.
This is what it means to be a wayfarer, the Self rising out of the self.
I hear her voice say: Vaya Con Dios, dear,
and one of those pointed warnings she always had for us.
The trick is to stay moist with life.
Take the necessary measures
to prevent the heart from becoming
just another piece of tough leather.
On this path, you become different.
Different to the others (and they'll even tell you so).
Different to yourself from season to season.
But you accepted the invitation, and the path has been defined:
The Ever-Mysterious Road of the Traveler
who journeys all over the world
without ever leaving home.
(c) 2017 / Frank Saizan Owen / purelandpoetry.com
image: Casa del Rio de la Gracia, Cerro Gordo, Santa Fe, New Mexico -- the old teaching house of my late teacher