When you realize how perfect everything is you will
tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.


I loved coming across this quote attributed to the Buddha on Twitter today. I always smile when I see images of a laughing Buddha, rotund tum and joy-filled face. And from time to time a lovely line drawing of a laughing Jesus holding a child aloft does the rounds. I think too of the smilingly peace-filled face of the Benedictine David Steindl-Rast, and the joy that emanates from Thich Nhat Hanh. And images of my grandchildren laughing joyfully on a garden swing … and Syrian grandchildren smiling and laughing in the very heart of shattered cities.

They know something about hope that runs so deep it can and does change worlds – until more and more and more people realize …

Sunrise stands still

“The tree is now lush in the summer morning mist, exuberant in the warmth of afternoons. Through summer, the sunrises and sunsets move back toward the south each day, gradually picking up speed, “falling” south through the autumnal equinox. The tree’s oval leaves turn crimson, a few at a time at first, then all rushing to keep up. Raucous vectors of geese fly, and the leaves fall. Chill comes. The tree’s deep scarred bark seems to become darker as the sunrises and sunsets slow in their southward movement. The sun’s arc is lower, the days shorter, nights longer. Then the place of sunrise stands still again at winter solstice and the tree is once more a black skeleton, dead if you didn’t know better. Then, ever so slowly, the place of sunrise begins to move northward again.”

Gerald G May
The Wisdom of the Wilderness, p80f

The wonderful Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has written:

“the person who does not know how to die does not know how to live” …

Thich Nhat Hanh
You are here

… and I wonder whether Gerald May ever read that? I think he’ll have known the truth in it. Deeply sensitive to the seasons of life, he observes summer and winter, dying and rising, an eternal cycle, “southward movement”, a brief standing still, and a “rising northward again”. Dr May, like all of us, had cause to lean hard upon his sense of life’s natural beginnings and endings, oft repeated. I need to remember “summer morning mist” too. I have to know how to die, the better to know how to live.