One Cool Breeze in the Seasons of My Life

It’s mid-July, and in Kansas, that means heat, more heat, and then even more heat. This year, we seem to be lucking out in that it’s mostly hovering in the low 90s this week, but that stretch of weeks between mid-July and mid-August is usually when the temperature starts hanging out in the 100s, and the nights sport lows in what most people would prefer to see as highs.

I keep thinking of that small poem I wrote about some months back.

Then thousand flowers in spring, the moon is autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
— Wu Men (Hui-k’ai), 1183-1260

This small poem has become a talisman for me as well as guide for how to live. And this is just what I thought about while sitting on the back deck tonight, watching the wind swoop up Old Cottonwood Mel (the giant cottonwood tree I named for my dead father) while the leaves shimmered that bright, pale green at their edges against the stunningly crystal blue sky.

For me, the problem isn’t necessarily finding beauty in all moments, but figuring out how to stay with that beauty instead of getting mind-clouded (to paraphrase the poem). But at that moment as I sat with the tree, I realized dropping all the tiny hooks that seem to grab me from across my computer screen and within my mind could be easy. It could be like just watching a tree, enjoying the cool breeze, the light, the color and simplicity of a singular moment in life.

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