Learning to Fly


The wings that you must carry on your back can be a burden or you can learn to fly.

It’s a dark, gray, rainy day and the sky is the color of wet cement. It is the afternoon but it is so dark outside that I must put a light on. A big-footed bird alights on the top of the trellis outside the window. I press my face against the glass to get a better look. The bird has such big feet because it is a Peregrine Falcon. Its talons are holding a small bird and it rips the sparrow to pieces with its beak while it eats perched precariously twelve stories high. The bird is a dull gray and blends in with the sky except for the two white markings on its breast and both sides of its head. It is only a juvenile but I am amazed that it is surviving in the city and paying little heed to the drizzling rain. It is so beautiful, rare to see especially close up, and out of reference for the city, that I will try to encourage it to come back again. Since it is a carotene eater I’m going to get some feathers and some chicken and tie it to the top of the trellis. American Indians say it’s good luck when the Falcons appear near you.

 Life lives on life. We all eat and are eaten. When we forget this, we cry, when we remember this, we can nourish one another. Satoru

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Focusing Your Mind

Zen Swim

The sky, beach and tops of the white caps all turned pink as the fireball dipped below the trees. The long crash of the waves intermingled with the howling of the wind and the storm music was strong and compelling. I’m so burnt out I have less love to give and my heart is paper-thin but the sorrows of my heart vanish when I swim. I plunged into the water and was turned sideways, first by the undercurrent and then by the incoming wave. All the force of the slow moving hurricane seemed to be concentrated in the last fifty feet of the surf. The wave held the power of a thousand miles and a billion tons of Atlantic Ocean behind it so swimming to it was hitting a wall of liquid force. The only recourse was to dive to the sand, hold my breath as the weight of the wave hit, and advance a few feet at a time. Once I got out past the first few breakers the sea was manageable but rough and sandy. The storm was moving away. The ancient mariners’ adage was true. Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Satoru

If you let cloudy water settle, it will become clear. If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.

Zen Hurricane Swim

Unless it is too dangerous I will swim in Sandy the Hurricane tomorrow. The last time I swam in a hurricane was in Manhattan Beach Brooklyn. The waves during that storm thundered in and although they were only twelve feet they were the most brutish force I ever encountered. The wave undertow pulled me out into the breakers and then slammed me down pinning me against the sand. I could not move until the crush of the water flowed over and past me. Then, I kicked to the surface and took a deep breath before the next wave crashed over holding me against the bottom with tons of seawater pressing down. I could move in or out of the sea a few feet at a time as long as I didn’t fight the undertow. It was an exciting Zen game for a swimmer and I enjoyed the experience. There is nothing that makes you feel more alive than engaging in a high-risk activity and at the same time utterly focusing your mind. I didn’t know what the reaction of these Bahamian waves was going to be. The Brooklyn experience was in a relatively enclosed huge bay and in northern waters. This hurricane was in the open sea in the Bahamas. I’d have to test the water and especially the crosscurrents carefully, less I be pulled out to sea off the island. Tomorrow will be an engaging day.