Publications ~ Balanced on the Edge

Balanced on the Edge 
Rainy Day Notes by Fred Mitouer 

Elk Beach – north of my home — is filled with sand, pebbles, rocks and boulders.
   Moving from the continental shelf, eastward to the ridge, the earth rises to an elevation of 1300 feet above sea level — the altitude of the land where I built my home, a full generation ago.

    Today it is raining, 
        much harder than I ever remember 
            for the late spring time on the Mendocino Coast.

        I prefer this rain to the winds which make my dog nervous 
               and throw the pollens every which way.
         And yet...
        The rains also bring the seduction of my ancient melancholia.

                I don’t have to succumb to it’s pull.
                I have free will and 
                       I have my preferences...
                        neither of which best the other 
                            nor erase the fact that 
                        I could still be living ...
                        in Los Angles or
                        in Marin,
                        or, for lack of grace, be not alive in this body where I can choose to wrestle with my existence.
        this is where I am ...
        poised between blaming and praising ... beyond any justification,
            a pile of rock precariously balanced at the tidal zone, 
            impermanent and free.

            I do know my existence is temporary.
            And so,
                    I am tempted to create a story that will 
                    outlive this form.

                    I don’t have to do this ...
                     and yet I cannot help but consider my compulsion to go there nonetheless.

                    The struggle is a trap.
                        It is creativity, too.
                    The story.
                   What story?

            Not unlike the way I am pulled to the old memories of my childhood home, 
                I teeter in temporary balance 
                like these rocks
                between my ancient ways and my ultimate disappearance from this realm.

                When today’s rains hit my land, I felt the erosion of the earth within me...
                        ...The inexorable kindness of water
                        sculpting me away
                        ultimately to my fate.
                    This rain, today, may be my true disappearance act,
                                              the great finale where I crumble into ...
                            ... the ocean of selflessness.
        So many times, in the past, I’ve tried to resist this inevitable fate and 
                    have failed.
            Now, at midlife (Thank God), I’ve surrendered to the forces of nature.
            And I know that:
            Preferences are futile...
            there is no storyteller...
            and there is no story, after all.

             My dog doesn’t care whether it rains or whether the winds rule the day.
            Either way, he balances his arthritic hips 
            against his attempt to find a balanced rest 
                 against his inevitable surrender to 
                 whatever the Tao makes so.

                    I hear my dog’s sigh in my bones,
                    And the me that is I, is not afraid to die.

                        And ... for just this moment,
                        the I that is Thou 
                        can live in gratitude and freedom, 
                        balanced on the edge,
                        free to care and not care,
                        with a smile on his lips.
               notes on a rainy day / Fred Mitouer/ Noon 6.16.’05




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