The palest ink is better than the best memory. This quote was written upon a small paper tab that was attached to my tea bag. I had awoken in a fog unable to remember where I had eaten dinner the night before. I remembered my wife waking in the middle of the night in a slight panic but other than this my past was as illusive to me as notions of god. While lying in bed I tried to recall a few things from my past. I was able to remember the faces of a few women I had slept with many years ago. I remembered the first car that I received upon turning the driving age (but I was unable to recall the color) and I also was able to remember a small park in Berkeley that I enjoy sitting in. Other than these few superficial details of my life I was having difficulty recalling the events of the previous day. I arose from bed, made some tea and found that relevant quote dangling from the tip of my tea cup. I am always startled by the way forces collude to create coincidences.
After eating an egg I was somehow able to recall a very large steel Buddha that a local artist constructed in a park around the corner from my home. I dressed quickly, feeling a strong inclination to go visit the Buddha. I had no understandable motive- other than seeking out a wisdom that may shed some light upon my lethargic situation. I put on mittens, a heavy jacket, and a cotton cap and walked the block or two to where the steel Buddha sat still upon the grass. A few dog owners were out throwing disturbing objects to salivating fur balls to chase after. I admired the contentment from which these dog owners watched their dogs run. I could not remember how long it had been since I felt that kind of contentment.
I stood beside the Buddha and looked up at it’s over-sized features. It’s height was no more than twenty feet. The artist created the Buddha sitting in the lotus posture, with hands coming together in the center- I assume to portray a state of nirvana. The Buddha’s eyes were shut and there was an expression of quiet rectitude upon his face. I stood in front of him and observed a very slight inhalation and exhalation coming from the statues belly. This did not surprise me since I was well aware of the scientific finding that within all inert matter there is moving energy. While breathing in the damp morning air I felt a strange desire to climb to the top of the Buddha. Like all my desires which I am seldomly able to control, I began my ascent.
After stepping on the hands, pulling at the nipple, hanging onto the nose and dragging my way up onto the crown of the Buddha’s head I had reached the summit with a rapidly beating heart and a feeling of being short of breath. I sat so that my long legs fell over the Buddha’s face and I looked straight out into a pasture of green grass. The sun had fully risen to its place in the sky and my mind was slowly becoming more relaxed. I breathed deeply and tried to find a place in me that spiritual aspirants refer to as a center. I slowed the erratic quality of my thoughts by listening to the squirrels chew walnuts in the trees. I could feel an intense vibrating energy coming from the Buddha’s face. It was such a strong energy that my legs and butt were quickly warmed up. The dog owners noticed this strange apparition sitting on the Buddha’s head and glanced at me with suspicious eyes. All I could do was smile and enjoy the morning sun.
Gradually I remembered various images that I had taken in the day before. I remembered the salad, orange and chicken that I had eaten for dinner with a few glasses of red wine. I remembered the bike ride that I had taken all around Berkeley and Oakland the day before. Fragments of my life started to come back to me the more I relaxed and quited my mind. Slowly I was re-introduced to a self I had forgotten. I was inspired to stand up tall on the Buddhas head and reach out towards the heavens. I was filled with an exhilarating feeling that wanted to touch the sun, the stars, all things divine. As soon as I stood up, I noticed my left foot loosing connection with the Buddha’s head. Soon after that my right foot lost its connection and before I knew it any sense of mindfulness that I had achieved was gone. I was falling twenty feet towards the dewy grass and all I could think on my descent down was this is going to hurt.
I was awoken by a feeling of wet sandpaper sliding its way along my face. When I opened my eyes I noticed two dogs gathering above me. They were licking the remnants of enlightenment from my face as their owners asked me if I needed them to call an ambulance. One owner told me not to move because I may have broken my neck. I felt bruised and battered but not in enough pain to feel as if I had been badly damaged. I landed in soft grass upon my back. I took the liberty to ask one of the dog owners to help me up, and then I dusted my self off. I was sore and my back felt like shards of broken glass. I will be okay, I told them as they watched me with carefully eyes. I am just going to slowly walk home and makes some tea. I slowly limped back towards my home- which I was having some difficulty finding. After a few moments it occurred to me that I was lost. I decided to sit down on the side of the road. My back refused to sit straight so I lied down on the ground. Looking up at the morning sun I decided- I would wait for as long as it took for the past to return to me so that I could slowly find my way back home.