walking slowly downhill
Eighty-eighth Day, December 9, Melbourne
It’s very early in the morning of my departure back to Milang and the walking.
I’ve come down to the water just to say my goodbye, though I’m not sure to whom or to what.
As I stand by the shore I am just realizing that everything, otherwise known as ‘it’, actually really is ‘what it is’.
In other words, all of it, each single thing individually or the entire big universal messy cloud of dust and gas, it all ‘is what it is’.
People occasionally say it, I hear it as I walk past someone or overhear a phone conversation, usually earnest; ‘Oh, it is what it is…’
Even a good friend of mine says it a lot convinced that it constitutes words of wisdom, or even a life-transforming phrase, if injected into the right context at just the right moment.
But even if each time I’ve heard it it’s made no sense, or has been so seemingly obvious that I’ve ignored it, suddenly it’s blazing bright in big letters on my horizon.
Why is this?
Perhaps because I suddenly recognize that saying it or hearing it said simultaneously brings both a sense of separation and of connectedness to the forefront of one’s mind, as though each condition is actually an inextricable part of the other.
Epimetheus said ‘each object has a separate science’; maybe that has something to do with it.
After all aren’t we are all inexorably aligned to our is-ness?
I know that at times I’ve journeyed down pathways thinking they were new, only to realize they were not the minute I recognized that my response was similar to many I’d had before.
We dig increasingly deeper furrows in our conditioned engagement with the world; each might seem new and authentic as the smell of fresh earth invades our senses, but it’s in fact the same old rhizomatic response-pathways that we attend to, all the while believing that each time we dig we’re expanding the network.
So, if everything ‘is what it is’, why not stop digging?
But now the light from the sun setting behind me has faded to an orange glow, tinged green at its edge and darkening to a deep indigo higher in the liquid sky above it.
Just this simple moment, one that’s been repeated an infinite number of times since the very beginning, is enough to sabotage the mind, insistently persistent in its vain attempt to know.
I shut my eyes and allow the sound of the small shallow waves to enter me, acknowledging of course that each tiny wash of salt water upon the shore is uniquely itself, and no matter how many may arise and fall none will ever be replicated.