Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself. This old Zen parable by Matsuo Bashō captivates me today. Writing daily forces me to think about what is noteworthy in my life. I gaze out and I see the same fields as yesterday. The grass grew a little longer, the ragwort a little taller. The pheasants are back too. They seem to like foraging in the tall grasses. Nothing noteworthy.
I fear the blank page today. Perhaps we all do in this strange time. I wake up with a promise to myself to be productive. But Bashō reminds me the world does not stop moving if I stop moving. Sometimes life is about letting things happen, not making them happen.
I think of John O’Donohue, a late Irish poet with a great sensibility for nature. He reminds me to look at the same landscape with a newborn’s eyes every time. To see the magical in the ordinary. David Whyte, also a sensible Irish poet, praises his dear friend in this remarkable interview for his ability to always discover something new and extraordinary in nature. O’Donohue read the landscape like poetry.
I am reading a passage on Ernest Hemingway in a book about love by Marianne Williamson. Hemingway describes the difference between his writing a story, and a story writing itself. When he finds himself writing the story, he knows it is time to stop for the day. Williamson writes, “Our life is meant to be a story that mysteriously writes itself, and our work is the creative fruit of our lives.”
I decide it is time for a walk and read the landscape like a poem. Perhaps the grass will grow a little longer in my absence.