The Secret Ingredient

Yesterday, I really felt a need to get up into the mountains, so I took my dog and headed up to the Uintah National Forest. As always, I stuck a camera in my pack, but unusually for me, I set out with intention of NOT taking pictures. Rather, I just wanted to walk, throw a stick for Jack, and look.

About halfway through the hike, we came to a deep alpine lake at about 10,500 ft. In the shallows, the grasses were curling, undulating with the small waves.

The whole time I shot, I thought “I can’t believe this is being given to me…”

Recently, a Shambhala teacher told me “I’m going to give you the secret ingredient.”

“Patience,” he said.

Amen.

 

 

Five Dogs In

On a somewhat friendlier note (than Suicidal manikins…)

A Bodhisattva is an awakened being who chooses to return to this suffering world again and again, until all of the numberless sentient beings have awakened. This can take many forms, from reincarnation in the Hell Realm (as Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, attempted causing his head to explode into a thousand pieces) to great teachers in this human realm, to the sweetness of a truly good dog.

 

 

black dog, brown eyes

action jackson, yes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Dogs In

each of my dogs has taught me

how to be better to the next

 

five dogs in – finally gentled

 

 

 

sleeping dog, early morning

abby, early morning 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes

sometimes

 

in the evening after the heat

has broken and the dishes are done

the air in the house goes silver –

late day light filtering in

my dog and I like to sit in that light

and listen to the world as it cools

 

sometimes

 

he looks up and catches me

watching him sleep

 

sometimes

 

we hold each other’s stare

as if either of us looking away

just might shatter

 

everything

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

My Father

My father, Allen Medford Fink, died of lung cancer in 1986 at age 72. He was not an easy man. As I explained once to an adult nephew, he was our father, so we wanted to be close to him, but it could be a dangerous place to stand. He taught us to be strong. But as I grow older myself, I can see that if my brother and I are, in our own ways, more gentle, well, he must certainly have given us the seeds of this gentleness as well.

 My father was 42 years old when I was born, so he was dead by the time my sons Patrick and Nathan were born. But his presence remains. In the Buddhist cosmology, the “three times” of past, present and future and not as solid as we ordinarily take them to be. Perhaps this is how I know that if he were to meet my sons today, I am certain he would be amazed. I am certain that he would be most pleased.

My father with me, the baby, and my big brother Joe on the lawn of our small house in Detroit in 1958.

My father with me, the baby, and my big brother Joe on the lawn of our small house in Detroit in 1958.

Written April 2015 in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah —

rains

the wind

is beginning to howl

a late season snow coming in.

by morning, everything

will be blown back

into white.

 

I remember my father

staring out the kitchen window,

massive and simmering,

considering the evening sky.

 

he left the farm just before the war-

came North, but never lost the habit

of weather,

 

of watching the clouds

for signs of impending danger

of flashing from sun into thunder

with no warning.

 

we’re grateful for the snow-

it’s been dry here for too long.

 

redemption can come

through the blessings of rain

of a rain that falls hard all day

of a rain that might protect us

 

from the lightning

from rage without warning

from the flames

t

hat can race up from the valley

and sweep us all away

incinerating everything

 

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

maybe it began

Image

 

maybe it began

 

maybe it began as a small room

in a small house, a blue spread

on a bed, a wooden dresser

a window, a rug on a wooden floor.

home, the place of origin, a place

to be from — going out and coming

back and going out again. did

such a place really exist, or did I

need to invent it?  a friend

once told me one sure measure

of happiness is how much of this world

we can willingly accept. I so

want to know the truth, any

truth, to be certain of something

inside this living question of a life.

but it seems there’s no arriving

only leaving, and leaving again

no rising beyond the chaos –

only, if blessed, a rising into. only

an acceptance of this perpetual rain

of phenomenon – falling, then freezing

melting and rising again, and then again

rain, merging into the gathering stream

as it runs headlong down to the sea, rushing

back to the source, rushing

as it always must, toward home.

 

 

 

 

© old bones, new snow/ J.A. Fink 2014