Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Portal in Time

Friday, I left work early and drove up the mountain to visit a tree I've known for almost 40 years. From this tree the panorama stretches south to San Francisco and north to Point Reyes. Looking west, the mountain plunges steeply into the Pacific. Beneath the tree, a flat stone makes a perfect seat. Here I have returned again and again to sit under the canopy of branches and peer at the Red Tail Hawks gliding the updrafts and the sun setting over clouds rolling in like ocean waves. On clear days, I look to the horizon and sense infinity in the curving line where sea touches the sky. 

Since the time I first sat beneath this tree near the end of my teenage years, I have sat in countless places: beneath trees bodhi trees in Nepal, olive trees in Greece, aspen trees in the Rockies, mango trees in Bali, maple trees in Japan, cedar trees in Italy... I sat on every kind of vehicle from bicycle rickshaws to camels to private jets. I have sat huddled in packed, suffocating trains in India and ridden subways in New York alone in the middle of the night. I sat at rickety and splendid tables. I sat at make-shift and ornate desks. I sat on broken down and finely maintained benches in wastelands and wonderlands. I sat on meditation cushions and on the hot seats of judgmental scrutiny. I sat in crowded stadiums of screaming fans and alone in silent deserts... Like you, I've sat in a lot of places.

In the four decades since I first sat beneath this tree on the mountain, nothing there seems to have changed. The tree seems, miraculously, to have remained the same size. The steep, slope of the mountain undulates alone the same ridges and creases. The ocean stretches to the same infinity. The hawks soar along the same currents of air.  

Sitting beneath the tree, I see through all the masks and costumes I've worn and through the stage sets I've inhabited. I sense the silent awareness that peered through my eyes when I was five years old, when I was 19, 40 and now. On the stone beneath this tree I enter that which was never born and that which will never die. I remember the genuine me.  

No comments:

Post a Comment