Noilly Prattle: A Walk in the Country

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Walk in the Country

Meditation from Thais

Sometimes I need to be alone.

We (good road buddy and I) were at an expat party at the flat of some friends we met early on here in Prague. There is quite a large expat community here so it dovetailed very nicely with an old expat like myself. One of the party people, a young woman, asked me (the doyen of the party) if I ever meditated. That got me to thinking about meditation.

Road buddy had made an arrangement to meet a blog buddy for hot chocolate and chat at a local cafe, to which I was cordially not invited and didn't want to attend anyway since the ladies are both Japanese and they would want to chat in Japanese, and my Japanese isn't good enough to carry on a lengthy conversation and, besides ... I had other plans.

I took a tram to the end of the line where there are woods and a small lake or big pond (I'll call it a pond), however you want to look at it. When at home in Japan, we have a car, so my euphemism for being alone is “I'm going for a drive in the country”. Here, no car, so it's “a walk in the country”. Call it a kind of meditation where I get in touch with myself without distractions and plans and schedules and obligations—yada, yada, yada.... Just me and the world around me.

After walking for 15 or 20 minutes, I spotted an old bench with a partly broken slat as I approached the eastern end of the pond and decided to set a spell. There was still ice on the pond, but the edge was clear and there were several Mallard ducks swimming around. A couple of them were walking on the ice. I was sort of mesmerized by the elements I was a part of:  the declining sun, the hazy sky, the ground and hills and the partially frozen lake and the ducks making silhouetted ripples in the unfrozen water. Literally and physically surrounded by fire, air, earth and water and a few swimming creatures that had been made by the interaction of these indispensable elements. Fire Air Earth and Water are not some kind of mystical concept, they are, in plain simple observable fact, the natural world we live in, like me sitting alone on a bench and ducks swimming in a pond on a sunny hazy afternoon.

Suddenly, two of the ducks were walking on the melting ice and came too close to the weak edge and plunged in. It was fascinating to watch, how they instinctively and unerringly fought their way through the thin ice until they finally reached the flowing water and started swimming freely.

I guess it must have been a kind of waking dream because I realized I was smiling at the antics of the ducks while losing contact with the sweet dream. “Well," I thought to myself, "that's enough enlightenment for one day.” I got up off my butt, and started walking back toward the tram stop.

A thousand apologies for any incoherencies and inconsistencies in this meditation. There are none in the above link to the “Meditation” from the opera Thaïs


Anonymous said...

I just loved this one, Joe. Kind of a metaphor for life, wasn't it.

I am driving to NY, tomorrow and on the plane to India on Thursday so …you will have to get along without my comments.

Love to you and to Akiko.

Noilly Prattle said...

You're very perceptive. It was indeed. I guess I'll have to go cold turkey from your comments for a while. I will miss them. Enjoy your sojourn and frame your shots.

Anonymous said...

well, I am back now…so be prepared!!!

Noilly Prattle said...

I'm holding on to the gunwales and bracing myself. Is there a 津波 in my future?

Anonymous said...

you KNOW that I don't speak or read Japanese so…tell me what that is? But, am sure, the answer is, sadly, no.


Noilly Prattle said...

I know... I'm being a prick, but it ties into the video. It reads TSUNAMI. The other Japanese phrase was: Thank you very much....for posting the video.