The Path

by Jane Whittle

the ash tree's dark boughs
scatter sunlight on the path
will you join the dance?

As I relax on the sofa after a long afternoon planting seeds, the warmth of the glasshouse eases my aching back. I begin to read a 'guru essay' sent by a friendly Buddhist "..Dukkha is the suffering arising from the ultimately unavailing struggle to consolidate the experience of self, sufficiently strong and enduring to deny the insubstantiality and impermanence of all phenomena, including us."
Oh yes, all that stuff again. I feel like tearing up the pages, but I don't because I'm fond of the writer. However, words, like us and everything else, wear out, especially those abstract ones. I must try to find another way.
Sheets of paper slide to the floor as I gaze out along the garden path where green leaves are bursting out of flowerbeds. Birds call to each other - clear, liquid notes of evening on the still air.

I want to show you
something round the corner
but I can't

Shadows dance along the path to the gate - it divides the shimmering green of the orchard with the rigid geometry of a stained glass window. This is a jungle I tame only for a while - every spring it overtakes me. Blossom is already giving way to leaf, but trees I planted twenty years ago may fruit for fifty years.
The cat has come to sit with me. Her breath is even as she settles down on my lap and begins to purr. Her gaze is steady. She has just been fed, she is warm and the dog she saw earlier has gone. All is well.

sun on a damp path
turning moss into gold
again and again


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