Reflections on Impermanence

“My Riverbirch has lost its leaves…and now I can see the lake.”

This is true as I look out my window, and is so unexpected.  The property between my house and the lake has undergone major changes, with the removal of numerous old trees.  I’d never had a view, and now I do. It is true that the changes that may be unwelcome (the removal of large and beautiful trees) can have unexpected benefits…and open up new vistas, so to speak.  Today…the sun shines brightly and a crystal sharp reflection juts off the water.

It is reminiscent of a Japanese Haiku:

“Barn’s burnt down…now I can see the moon.” Masahide, Japanese poet, (1657?-1723)

I first saw this Haiku on a card intended for a husband who’s wife had nearly lost her life in an accident, and she was left partially paralyzed.  I thought the expression (this haiku in this situation) was very stark. But as their new life unfolded, I also saw that they had a new and deeper relationship.

At this time of year I think about tragedy, and change…  I think of blessings, too, for there are many and I feel these and name them quietly in gratitude.  I think about the Buddhist notion that tragedy is inevitable and suffering is a kind of choice.  I don’t think I’ve mastered that one yet.  It’s not as simplistic, as I put it here.  The teaching is that we suffer because of our desires and attachment, and life is impermanent, change is constant.

So, at this time impermanence is a theme as nature does its dance and changes, and our season transforms through Fall into Winter.  Through light into dark… and as I know with my garden, there is much that carries on behind the scenes, underneath and hidden.  Things are still very alive, just not as visible…and we make our own light with Thanksgiving and with the upcoming Holidays.

May you find peace and many blessings as we approach Thanksgiving.