My Father’s Cane
I had to pull my father’s dusty old cane out of the closet this week.
I’ve had shooting pain in my left leg,
and I haven’t walked my beloved road for days.
That “damn cane” that my father cussed out so often,
has helped this lame goat
hobble around all week. Right now, I’m reeling a bit
from some body issues: a 3mm kidney stone that hospitalized me,
a gall bladder full of stones, a tooth that broke
while eating pasta which wasn’t even al dente,
and now the leg. In the Middle Ages they used to say, Momento Mori:
This saying is not meant to be morbid, but rather
it’s intended to remind us of the shortness and impermanence
of this current incarnation, so that we can wake up
to live, and love, every moment —
no matter how painful or how blissful. The Tibetans call it:
“Living in the Mirror of Death.”
Carlos Castenada’s Don Juan always insisted that
without the awareness of death, everything was ordinary and trivial.
To realize that you have little time,
and no time for crap — what a wonderful gift!
So instead of an hour on the road, I shamble down to the fire pit
and sit there for a while just bathing in the kosmos
and the silence. Just tasting the blessing as the clouds
sail by in a lapis sky, high above the big green wall of sycamore, beech,
oak, bald cypress and weeping willow, that
line the dry creek bed down below. And I just smile,
feeling more alive than ever, grateful to be gripping my father’s cane.