This Past Wednesday…

… i was coming back from grocery shopping and arrived at the intersection of uRoute 52 and Main Street, Beacon, NY…

… there was a commotion of vehicles and people going on at the opposite side of the intersection and i made out a human figure lying on the road as i turned the corner and continued on my way…

… as i drove slowly down Main Street thinking about what it was i had seen, the police, and then a fire truck, with sirens going, raced by…

… the following day H read to me from an article on the incident… a woman had been hit by a jeep making a left turn as she crossed in the crosswalk… she later succumbed to her injuries…

… this morning i passed by the intersection and this bouquet of flowers was stuck into the utility pole between the buttons one pushes to cross the road… i have no idea if she had pushed one or not before she crossed… as often as not, pedestrians don’t push the buttons…

… i was sad thinking about a woman who’s life was prematurely ended… saddened by the thought of loved ones mourning rather than celebrating this holiday season…

… the cosmic unwinding of forces is cruel sometimes… not from its point of view, but from ours… it is we who must receive and cope with its unyielding dispensations…

… i have had my own near misses at this intersection… i don’t believe in pedestrian controlled crossing lights… i believe they promote bad behavior in motorists… my own experience has shown that some motorists assume that when the walk signal isn’t lighted, pedestrians don’t have the right of way… NYS law says otherwise… pedestrians always have the right of way regardless of the disposition of traffic lights… pedestrian crossing lights should be automatic… i don’t know if the woman had pressed the button or, if not, whether it would have made a difference… i do know that motorists can be quite aggressive to pedestrians in their way…

The Haiku of Issa

… i’ve read all the Haiku that are in The Essential Haiku… this morning i read exerpts(?) from Journal of My Father’s Last Days… i had to push myself through the pages… Issa was devoted to his father, hated by his stepmother, not sure what his relationship with his half brother was…

… my father is dying… in some ways it was interesting to read about a son caring about and caring for his father… i am not being called upon to do that, though i am pretty sure i would if it came to it, compassion is the proper response to anyone’s end of days…

… i don’t like my father and he doesn’t like me… our relationship has been difficult for most of my adult life… i long ago gave up on any expectations that it could be different… we tolerate each other for my mother’s sake, sometimes, just barely… it would be nice if i had similar devotion to Issa’s but i don’t… my devotion is to my mother… she is my main concern at this time… i am hoping for a few good years with her, without the ever present tension of my father, before she too passes on…

… i don’t know how i will feel when he does die… i only know that i am not very sad or worried about it right now… the sadness i feel right now is for the pain and sadness my mother is experiencing… i know, from the experience of dogs and cats that have passed on, how difficult it is to watch a being you have loved fade and pass away… H’s dad died suddenly, this seems the easier way despite the shock…

… i expect some difficult days ahead… i expect some difficult feelings too… we are in the space of taking it one day at a time and dealing with what wells up as it comes… which, according to my vague understanding fo Buddhism, is all we can ever do…

02 Meditation

Buson Haiku…

… the first poem stands out most to me today… a bottomless tub blowing around in the autum wind… it seems so contemporary, i can easily imagine the scene happening in the coming fall… what constitutes a tub for a poet writing in the 1700’s as compared to now would be interesting to see… it could be that the Japanese for tub has more of the time connotations… in English, it is still a much used contemporary term…

… another poem notes a Camellia falling into an old dark well… i don’t have an image in my mind for Camellia, so i look it up… it’s like a carnation and comes in a number of colors but most prevalently in pink or red… i wonder if it signifies anything to the Japanese and look it up… here is what i find in a guide to giving flowers in Japan…

 Among warriors and samurai, the red camellia symbolized a noble death. Otherwise, the red camellia means love. However, they don’t make good presents for people who are sick or injured because of the way the flowers “behead” themselves when they die.1

… the flower was popular during the Edo period in Japan… Buson composed poems in the heart of that period… with that information the poem opens up… the flower as symbol of an honorable death, or as symbol of love makes sense in the poem… the flower falling into the old dark well (death) could be a straightforward allusion to seppuku, which ended with beheading by a second’s sword… it could also be a bit more allegorical, the old well symbolizing the poet himself, the Camellia symbolizing love, taken together, finding love at an old age?… could there be a may/December relationship here?…

… it seems that when reading haiku one has to examine every word or phrase for it’s possible symbolism… what seems to be a straight forward observation of a moment can be fraught with implied meanings…

02 Morning Spiritual Moment

The Haiku of Basho

… i don’t know if it is my mood, but the Haikus i read this morning seem all about alienation, loneliness… they leave me adrift, there isn’t one to latch on to… i read on… i land on this one, Basho’s death poem:

Sick on a journey,

my dreams wander

the withered fields.

… yes, this one seems appropriate for the morning after the news about J…