I borrowed a friend’s camera to record the rippling lake in front of his house, and was surprised when I saw the video I uploaded. It looks surreal. But maybe it does capture the altered state I entered whenever I sat down to meditate up in Damariscotta, Maine.
Now that these cherry blossoms have vanished, the videos I took while lying beneath them remain as a reminder of Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara’s words to me:
“The Japanese see cherry blossoms as a symbol of our lives,” Roshi explained. “They come at the very early part of the spring, when it’s cold. Their beauty makes you want to cry.”
I thought of how I’d meditated in my front yard, under thousands of cherry blossoms.
“One of the reasons why we cry is that these blossoms are so ephemeral,” Roshi continued. “They will fall,” she said simply. “And to watch the cherry blossoms fall is like watching ourselves die. We start off young and beautiful. Then we become middle aged and beautiful in a different way. Eventually we’re old and beautiful, and finally we’re dead and beautiful.”
(If you watch carefully, you can catch a couple of petals falling early on in the video)
So much happened in the month of December that I had to revise my manuscript over and over again. The painful loss of someone dear to me challenged all the progress I made over the last year.
Still, I am left with hope. And these words from Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again: