Tuesday, September 14, 2010

sunflower sutra

A few weeks ago I woke up tired and hungover and walked down the road to a field of sunflowers and by the time I got there I was sweating and tired. I found a lonely tennis ball in the grass halfway there and I picked it up and bounced it against the uneven ground as I walked forward. It was a mindless act, something I needed but couldn't achieve. I wanted mindlessness. I wanted mindlessness and beauty. And I thought a field of sunflowers would be beautiful. And I thought a hollow tennis ball being beat against the ground would displace thought process. Neither turned out to be completely true. As I looked upon those enormous flowers, and felt the crickets bouncing off my thighs, and felt the felt of the tennis ball in my fingers I felt no different than I did waking on a couch fully dressed and wincing at the morning sun, no different than I did sitting on a street corner wincing at streetlights waiting for a cab. It was, by all reasonable definitions a beautiful morning. It was warm, I know that. The sky was most likely clear and blue, though I can't say for sure, because I never looked up. But I saw people in the beginning of my walk, before I wandered into the wilderness. They looked pleased. Children playing in sprinklers. All of that. There was no reason to feel the way I did. I knew that. There was no reason to gaze upon those flowers and not be lifted up. But I was static. The flowers were beautiful. There was no doubt about that. But even they hung their heads in sadness. And there was nothing I could say to change it. It didn't matter how many times I told them they were beautiful, they never looked up.

I tossed the tennis ball into the abyss of sad flowers, and walked back.

The truth is that I've been happier these past few months than I've been in years. There's a fine line between joy and sadness. And I think the sunflowers know something we don't.

"Under the eaves of that old lime tree I stood examining the fruit
Some were ripe and some were rotten, I felt nauseous with the truth"