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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There are accounts of Zen masters in JAPANESE DEATH POEMS who knew the exact moment in which they would die and astonished others by doing so. We might infer that this is the ultimate in controlling one's destiny, but such knowledge is not rooted fundamentally in the desire to control. To be enlightened is to see clearly what is.

Still, as someone who is admittedly unenlightened, I fantasize not about controlling the moment of my last breath but having a say in the time and place I die. Two years ago, while spending the day at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, CA over Christmas break, I learned that an old man had gone for a walk but never made it home. As I was leaving, I saw his covered body on a gurney in an ambulance, waiting to whisk away his remains.

December wind
on a sunny park bench. . .
my last breath


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