A Day, A Life ~ Short Story

I grab my wool hat out of the basket.  I wrap my favorite gray scarf around my neck.  I lace up my left boot then my right. I pick up my workman’s jacket that hangs on the wall. I slip on my jacket while being sure to leave plenty of room for my wings to be comfortable for the day of work ahead of me.

I glance in the mirror that is hung by the front door. “I look beat-up” I say to myself .

My day started three hours earlier when I awoke to the ringing of the bells.  Every single day at 3am the bells are struck.  The ringing tone stays present inside my head for the next ten minutes.  I roll out of bed, stretch my wings, wash my face. I sit on the meditation mat…this is how my morning goes, every morning.

I do my utmost during this first period to clear my thoughts and sit in the absolute silence.  Thoughts of what lay ahead kept pulling me off towards fantasies that are disturbing to me.

Three bells ring; I made it through the first of three sitting periods of mediation and I now have a five minute break.

I go into the kitchen get a drink form the sink using my hand as a cup. I slice an apple, wrap half of it in plastic and place it in the fridge for later.  I eat half of the apple and three bells reverberate throughout the land. Back to mat: “Next period of deep nothingness with the right intentions", I think to myself.

I sit back down on the mat, I place my hands in the “mudra” position lying right hand gently on top of the left, thumbs meet at the center lightly touching.  Hand position during long meditation is important, it helps to rest the arms, shoulders and neck to open up the lungs. I spread out my wings then bring them back to closed position. I breathe, I sip in air through my nostrils. I repeat.

This is my morning, my every morning, for the past 213 years.  I get up at 3am to the bells. I meditate for two and half hours. Then I shower, dress, fix breakfast and then out the door for my work in the fields.

Time passes impossibly slow here. Time is not abstract; it has movement and it will end. It feels as if there has never been a tomorrow, just this moment.

I understand the question.  I didn’t know the answer of what lay ahead for me. For 213 ageless years I ponder this question. It seemed so simple why did I present it with effort? There is no conversation at all here about this or anything. Two hundred and thirteen years to prepare for a glimpse of nothingness...no pointer, no hints, no indication, no insight, no direction...only the deep felt awareness that I will be able to improvise when the time comes.  My life is a play without words.

The answer will come straight from the meditation mat; that's what the “Existing Collection” says. Reincarnation offers no comfort, it will start all over again if I do not get it right.  If I get it right a new question will arise.  Whatever I do I sit in emptiness without beginning and without end.  This is what the “Existing Collection” tells us….

Six in the morning, I exit from my front door.  

I do not feel like cutting wood, stacking wood and clearing paths.  It would be nice to have a different job, maybe work in the kitchen, laundry or taking care of the animals. The forest is ever vast and growing; every day new growth sprouts, this is what the “Existing Collection” tells us. I will never get a new job.

The walk to work is one of the few times that I have to myself, when I am not in service to the bells or to the others. My morning walk is the only time I have to enjoy the higher plain, the glories of the ever-present here and now.

Having wings do not give me much freedom, they were never intended to take flight. The wings only expand and collapse, merely decoration and they lack purpose. When the wind is just right I can puff out my wings and glide about four inches off the ground. I float to work as gently and quietly as a flower petal blows through the breeze. I am careful not to be seen.  Trying to take flight is something we are not supposed to do, it is strictly forbidden. As soon as I can see the others off in the distance I get my feet back on to the soil.  I do this by stiffening my entire body, I tighten my wings and they compress into my spine.  I drop like a brick.

The others - That is all I ever knew them by.  That is what the “Existing Collection” calls them, or us.

I gather the tool needed from the shed.  Nobody has to tell me what needs to be completed for the day. 

Clairvoyants. We are clairvoyants.  Never to communicate out loud.  We can talk, it's just that we don’t.  No words and no directed thought towards another. There is a general awareness of what needs to be completed for the days work.  This is how we communicate: random feeling and understanding of each other.  Without separate individual connections we act as one body.

2pm: 3 bells ring out, afternoon meditation. I face the sun. I sit in the field.
I’m back chopping wood at 4pm.

We live in a miracle.  That word has been used too often and has lost its value. We live in a miracle.  There is nothing special, yet miracles. Too bad only the obvious ones can be seen. I will write this down in the "Existing Collection” tonight when I get home.

7pm: Gregorian chanting with the others at the main alter. I like the chants. It's the only time I get to use my throat.  The chant lets us know about specific celebrations and what's to come. The soloists sing out and we repeat the phrase; it is our version of a calendar, or a To-Do list.  The cadences, the reciting of the notes, the simple melodic formulas...it fills me with purpose. I often wonder if the “no god, no-no God” is listening.

After the chanting I go back to my home. 

I prepare a simple meal of vegetables and rice.  The variety of vegetables vary from day to day. They are whatever the gardener places in my fridge for me. The rice is steamed: sweet jasmine with an aroma that I adore. I cut up some eggplant, white potatoes and onions, sauté them in a pan with sweet curry and basil. I have a couple of beers with my meal and then I clean up.

After dinner I pour myself a glass of Scotch, turn on flamenco music, light three candles and write down my thoughts in the “Existing Collection”.  This is something we all (the others) do every night before bed. It is a mystical ritual, it is the only mystical thing about this here and now place that I call home.  At night we all individually grab the “Existing Collection” book off of our shelves and write.  After we finish writing and place it back on the shelf it is updated with all the others writings.  It is truly the existing collection to the all-be-all.

I write:

“There is no God, not in the preconceived notion of him.  There is no God All Mighty, there is no Lord and Savior, there is no creator of the universe. Well...maybe there is a god but this god is a small case letters god, not the upper case capitals letter God that folklore has turned him into.  To clarify there is “no god & there is also no-no God”. There is no point in trying to understand this because there is no understanding of the nothingness and everything, it is effortless to the point of exhaustion.

The no-god, no-no-God is more akin to pollination rather than the map maker of the great bang. For the record the Big Bang did happen: life exploded out of a seed of emptiness. It's just that the no-god, no-no-God had nothing to do with it, not directly at least. He was the creator of the new seed, but not purposely.  Merely a witness to it. In fact, not even an interested spectator. We live in a miracle.  There is nothing special, yet miracles. Too bad only the obvious ones can be seen.  Life is self-pollinated; a piece of the god-ness is transferred but never separated….no effort, no intentions, no purpose. Only outcome in the the here and now.”

Finished my Scotch then poured myself another one. I dress in sweat pants and pull a blue t-shirt over my head, wiggle my wing through the holes in the back. I sit on the side of my bed and expand my wings to the fullest position then collapse them back into my body. Gulp down my drink and cover myself with a blanket and close my eyes.

As I close my eyes this thought drifts into my head: "Life is a meditation on where I am going to stand in this world”…everything goes white.

 I improvise.