Beneath the soft breeze,

Spring lanterns lightly tremble on branch and stream

foreshadowing a season of certain change.


If, like me, you find yourself returning...

returning again from the Land of Thorns and Shadows,

take solace in knowing that even the eight million gods

have been waiting quietly for you, healing salves in hand.


You'll find them in the hot water of your morning shower.

The amber glow in days of sun

the cool blue-gray light on days with rain.

Even the objects in your home, suffuse with the pulse of story,

are vibrant in their leaning to make a reconnection with you.


The wooden spoon an old timer carved for you once

to ensure that you'd have a "stirring life."

The tapestry woven by grandmothers you will never meet

but who were "praying you into" their weaving nonetheless.

The wooden statue of Amida, Kannon.

The earthen bowl shaped by your mother's hands.

The fruit, filling the bowl, that you don't remember buying

because you've been operating on autopilot for weeks.


Anything with its place that reminds you of yours.

These presences are your midwife now.


Though far from the Other Shore myself,

once again I recognize the fragrance of the Pure Land in my midnight teacup.

With another sip of the bouquet of mountain-and-rivers becoming,

I welcome you back, O Stream-Enterer, Returner, Traveler, Awakener.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern)

sound: Roy Mattson / "28th Night" / Melancholy Moon