Somewhere in the dim and dusty recesses of my noggin, the progress of the season and the passage of these fleeting summer days is being marked. There's a great cosmic clock ticking away in the background, and hearing it, I find myself thinking about the lessons held out by the golden season is passing away. The other three seasons of a northern calendar year are splendid of course, and there are other fine summers ahead, but this summer is waning, and its days are numbered.
Thoughts of coming and going are ever inscribed on summer's middling pages, and they're unsettling notions, making for restlessness and vague discontent, a gentle melancholy concerning the transience of all living and earthly things. An awareness of suchness (or tathata) is a midsummer thing, and for the most part, one goes gently along with the flow, breathing in and out, trying to rest in the moment and doing the things which need doing.
Old garden roses are a perfect metaphor for the season that is passing away so swiftly, and none more eloquently than the Great Maiden's Blush rose residing in the northwest corner of the garden. Like most antique roses, "the maiden" blooms just once in summer, and what a show she puts on, a wide entanglement of wickedly thorny canes and blue-green leaves, all wearing delicate pink blooms with crinkled petals and golden hearts. Each rose is unique in form and hue, and each is perfect from the moment of its budding until the faded petals fall to earth. The perfume lingers all through the garden for days and follows us into the house.
Sometimes, one catches a glimpse of the Great Mystery when she is wandering among her roses or out in the woods with camera and notebook on bright summer days. That is what this old life is all about, and if only I didn't have to keep reminding myself, but then there are the roses to remind me.