green mountains and blue sky, ancient sequoias stand like sentinels along a meandering creek. deep in the forest moss and lichen cover the trees, a carpet of leaves offered below my feet. wild turkeys roam in a small intimate group. a family of deer graze just up ahead. down the trail, to the right— stands Suzuki Roshi’s stupa. offer incense, then wait just maybe an hour or so. a long time ago Roshi said: “we die and we do not die, I think this the correct understanding.” then I realize, like a drop of water he has returned to the river. Roshi asks me quite softly, “are you a drop of water, or have you entered the stream?” my answer is quite simple, “how may I help you?” because, of course; this river runs through each one of us— in an unending flow.
written during a solo retreat at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center thanks to my friend Jakusho Kwong roshi