Monday, September 8, 2014

the bamboo path

Before I left Japan, I wanted to return to Arashiyama in Kyoto. The bamboo forest there seemed to call to me. Even though I have been blessed to see it a number of times now, and even though there are plenty of sights and treasures that I have not yet tasted in Kyoto and in Kansai, I felt it was somehow important for me to make the trip.  And so on my last full day in Kyoto, I squeezed in a late afternoon visit, just as the famous path cleared out of tourists.

There, I walked alone, in the quiet, scant light bending around the clusters of bamboo, thinking about life’s journey, and my very own especially.

Preparing to set off again, to take to the road, which has been my home—a very good one—these recent years, I felt much excitement, freedom and joy but also a degree of sadness. Returning to Japan had been an unexpected heart opening; in many ways it was a return to love. It was an unfastening of windows and doors, an airing out of stuffy old rooms, and a letting in of the summer, sunshine, warm breezes. It can be hard to see such a season pass and not feel like it is an end of something.

I felt deeply comforted walking between the two walls of bamboo. I felt how very strong they were, how well rooted, and also flexible. This path reminded me that we are all on this life’s journey, all seeking sunshine, all wanting to grow, to be strong, to be flexible, to find balance.

The bamboo does not mourn the end of summer, it simply adapts and continues to live, to grow, to, at times, struggle, other times, flourish. The seasons, too, will also not stop one from walking the path, each step an opportunity to learn, to grow, to expand. And while the distance between Japan and myself increases, I feel that I am still walking the bamboo path.

Even now, while on a plane, somewhere between Shanghai and New York City. The way could not be less clear for me; all I know is that I am once again on the move—drawing lines in air, a trail of smoke between point A and point B. Still, I know with a great certainly in my cells and in my bones, that the path is still right here, slowly, gracefully unwinding, for me and my fellow bamboo.

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