Something happens to my eyes around this time every year. After a winter spent tracing the artfully scalloped nautilus curves of ice and snow and drinking in the plethora of blues on offer during the long white season, I get hung up on all sorts of colors and shapes in May. If past experience is any indication at all, I will probably be this way for weeks, wandering around with an expression dazed and intoxicated, finding profound pleasure in throngs of prosaic and unlikely things.
It doesn't have to be a flower or a leaf or a stem. It could be almost anything, a tantalizing (and occasionally mundane) structure of some sort with patterns or shapes or flowing curves built into the equation and calling out for rapt and thoughtful attention.
Pottering off to the market on foot yesterday under a leaden sky with rain falling and more rain in the cards for days to come (it's raining now, in fact), there were soggy tulips and daffodils everywhere I looked. It was the rake leaning casually against a tree with a stucco wall nearby and a bit of bicycle in the background that followed me home and stayed with me as I opened the front door of the little blue house in the village.
The posture of the unhanded garden implement might have been forlorn, but it was serene, and it pleased this elderly eccentric eye as much as a whole bed of dancing blooms in sizzling shades. Does a simple garden rake have Buddha mind? This one seemed to be the very essence of Zen, and the question as I sat down to write this morning was simple, paradoxical and something of a koan. Was the leaning rake not complete within itself, and did it really need any words from me at all?