A very very short story, for you.
As suffused as I am with my qarrtsiluni co-editing efforts with Pica, and in response to other pulls, I wrote something in response to and triggered by Katherine Tyrrell's lovely nénuphars.
The smell of incense and fresh laundry, and we sit together.
The morning, veiled through old screened-in windows, is grey.
One of us smiles. One of us shifts on the cushion and says, “I saw a drawing of a lotus, and it reminded me of our lives.”
The smallest cough. “Sorry…just allergies. How so?”
“Every tiny colored pencil line was vivid and distinct, but it took all of them to make the whole. Hundreds of tiny marks—each individual color blended inside the viewer’s mind into something pink and lustrous. There was the illusion of a real thing, something 3D, but it wasn’t the real thing of course.”
“There was beauty, and effort, and for all that it’s ephemeral—and yet there’s something in it that’s more than a drawing, and I’m not sure what.”
Our breath, together, sends tiny jewels of dust swirling through a sudden column of morning light. An unseen mockingbird’s song filigrees, evaporates like dew. Then a muffled clatter, someone downstairs in the kitchen readying tea.
“During zazen I remembered the drawing, and the lotus began to spin a bit—the petal-points started to resemble a compass rose.”
“Zhaozhou’s Four Gates.”
One head tilts, inquiring.
“ ‘A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is Zhaozhou?”
Zhaozhou replied, “East gate, west gate, south gate, north gate.” ”
Walls vanish, worlds flood then whirlpool away wink out, nothing remaining save a shimmering darkness, joy.
Thousands of years, and a moment.
The mockingbird begins again.
We both smile, and bow—joy in the transitory, joy in the effort, joy in the swinging gate.