An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
Vermont is famous for its fall foliage. Given that the mountains are covered with trees, it can be rather spectacular. I’ve had a particular interest in the changing colors this season because of my new mode of transportation.
I can see so much more when I am riding on the motorcycle. The world feels closer and there is nothing to obstruct the view. I bought a road atlas and I’ve been highlighting every road traveled this summer.
Yesterday, I headed north towards the Canadian border to catch the peak colors and to ride some new roads. It’s hard to say what my favorite road is. It is great to travel a road for the first time on the bike and even greater to travel a road for the first time on the bike that I’ve never traversed by car.
Such was the case with Route 120. I slipped through the quiet town of Franklin and headed south. The road sits on a plateau overlooking the Green Mountains from the top of the state. I could see the range from Mt. Mansfield all the way to Jay Peak. Lake Carmi was also in view.
The kaleidoscope of changing colors makes it easy to appreciate the beauty of being alive. For mindfulness, it is low hanging fruit. It’s easy to engage our attention while being enveloped in the colors of autumn.
Can we maintain the same sense of wonder in a month when the trees are bare and stick season begins? The world will soon be cold and grey here. That is when the real challenge of awakening will be here.
In every moment we are alive, we can consider the unlikeliness of this event. We are living beings on a living planet in the vast Universe. There is no end to the fascination. Our bodies, the nature around us, art, music, and science. Unfortunately, it seems too much that we take our status for granted. We remain engrossed in our stories, projects, and challenges and forget the miracle of life.
Beyond the miraculous is the privilege of being here now. Those fortunate of us in the West have abundant food, luxurious shelter, and freedom from war. Our gratitude can compound itself. The fact that we are here at all and the fact that we are here in such style should be enough to keep us grateful for a lifetime. But alas, we forget. We go back to sleep and complain that we don’t have enough money, the right relationships, and are too stressed by work and life.
The opportunity to awaken presides in any moment and in every moment. The motorcycle reminds me of the fragility of life. It invites life as meditation. Each moment and opportunity and a necessity to awaken.