Thursday Morning

Foggy, cool, almost cold,
fifth-grader hurrying
to a bus stop,
sage green skirt,
bare legs and day pack,
leaning to her right,
a black violin case
hanging from her arm,

if she hears
the sound of scales,
enlivening, each note loving,
leading to the next,
she will fear no future.



last day of summer, Seattle, 22nd Ave NW

A shadow clears when you relax your mind. It is fine to think, just as it is fine to stretch and to eat. The trouble begins if you identify with your thoughts and come to prefer life in your map to life in the territory. You will begin to protect your map, even at the expense of others. This can go beyond ordinary unhappiness. People sometimes kill or die for their maps. They die from their maps.
Empathy, compassion—the pantheon of love—is cure and prevention, the saving grace. It is within each of us and arises naturally when we quiet our minds. Many books describe this process. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki is my favorite. It travels in Earle’s library where I can read a page or two at the end of the day.

Truck Stop

Just west of Cleveland, a sultry late summer night, idling eighteen-wheelers…more than a year has passed since I set forth. There will be no turning back. I settled down in my van and fell asleep, comforted by this reality and the lullaby of diesels.