"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

07 January 2012

Maelstrom Noir

I found a friend of mine in the midst of a maelstrom. Twisted up, tangled, tired, frightened, angry, confused. He was looking for shelter. For answers. For the eye, so he might just catch his breath.

Please, just one breath...

I was there, noting the time of transition. The obvious observation that he would survive it. How, the end result, what would come, I had no answer for. Even the wise cannot foresee all outcomes. Besides, prophets don't know everything, and oracles can be wrong.

Perhaps the words I offered were those of lobotomized sangha. Maybe I told my friend everything. It could be I told him nothing. Yet, are those not one and the same?

I do know I truly got his attention when I quoted the sutra of a celluloid monk;

"'Are you going to freak out? Or are you going to eat an orange?'"

My friend was sent home. To a warm place. Encouraged to eat a sandwich and get some sleep. Whether any of the words were heard, or even remembered, hardly matters in the here and now. It could very well be years and lifetimes before the intricacies of all those lessons coalesce. Be that as it may, I know my friend will be alright.

And consider eating an orange. You can see, smell, taste, feel, hear, and understand the whole of creation if you pay attention. It might be the worse day of your life, but that might be the best orange you ever ate.


  1. Sometimes it is hard to think of a comment to leave here, simply because my brain is going a million miles an hour after I read your post.
    Too many questions, too much imagery, too much awe.
    (And who the hell ate all the oranges?)

  2. Sometimes my only reply can simply be thank you.

  3. I laughed out loud this morning when I read that last sentence. Brilliant.

    And I agree wholeheartedly about it sometimes taking years--and lifetimes--for lessons to be learned.

  4. Thank you. Do yourself a flavor and watch the film Zen Noir...my reaction to my friend and this post were built around it.

  5. I looked it up, and will definitely try to watch it. From the blurb I read, and the cover of the DVD, oranges are paramount, and already the last sentence in your post makes more sense--and is still making me laugh.

  6. The obvious observation that you will survive most things, however obvious, never helps and is never enough. Would that it did, eh?

  7. Loved it, especially the last paragraph.