Thursday, October 8, 2015


Growing up in the Southwest gave me a very confused relationship to capital-h History: much of the actual history of the people who once lived in the area was erased by colonization, and what did remain was either worn-out relics of missionary efforts and tacky theme-park recreations of boom-town mythologies that were never made to last, or new and shallow creations of the last fifty years that lacked both depth and history. I found myself longing for worlds where history was neither something meaningless, nor something I had been taught to ignore.

But here I feel the weight of ages, in the zen garden by the bamboo grove, under the green, tree-covered hills rising to blue skies mottled with gray, uncertain clouds. The temple monastery, practically unchanged in almost 500 years, stands serene and unconcerned behind me, as piebald carp flash orange and white in the murky pond beneath a low overhanging pine, while overhead an unseen bird trills ancient songs, and I sit in the shade on an old oak bench and think placid, unhurried thoughts about time.

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