6.10.03

Huize said to Zhuangzi, "I have a big tree of the kind men call shu. Its trunk is too gnarled and bumpy to apply a measuring line to, its branches too bent and twisty to match up to a compass or a square. You could stand it by the road and no carpenter would look at it twice. Your words, too, are big and useless, and so everyone alike spurns them!"
Zhuangzi said, "Maybe you've never seen a wildcat or a weasel. It crouches down and hides, watching for something to come along. It leaps and races east and west, not hesitating to go high or low - until it falls into the trap and dies in the net. then again there's the yak, big as a cloud covering the sky. It certainly knows how to be big, but it doesn't know how to catch rats. now you have this big tree and you're distressed because it's useless. Why don't you plant it in Not-Even-Anything village, or the field of Broad-and-Boundless, relax and do nothing by its side, or lie down for free and easy sleep under it? Axes will never shorten its life, nothing can ever harm it. If there's no use for it, how can it come to grief or pain?"
---Excerpt from the Chuang Tzu, Chapter 1 "Free and easy wandering"

There is a lot in this passage. What is he saying about usefulness and goodness? And where can I find this field he speaks of? and what the heck is that yak doing? These questions may have answers, but not here. I think this guy knew exactly what he was talking about, lie under the tree. You ever tried lying under a tree? Last friday I took a walk down into the river valley here in Edmonton. I found a spot where a tree had fallen down, landing in between four trees which grew close together, creating the perfect bench to lie on. How could I refuse such an invitation? I lay there for a time, and a moment came. One of those moments when time stops. No trains rumbled by on the nearby LRT bridge. No planes roared over head. Not even the birds dared to disturb this holy moment with their singing. And the Lord said, through the voice of the wind, "watch this!" And he gently blew over the tops of the trees. From those trees rained down gold, more riches than the world could ever give me, and for what seemed like hours I was caught in midst of glorious golden rain of leaves. It was one of those moments in which I was truly alive. Lying under a tree.

Now if after reading that, you are still wondering about the Yak, or about religous pluralism and syncretism, well those things may come up later, but your missing the point. Go lie under a tree!
... Oh wait, I am the one thinking about those things... well at least i didn't when i was lying under that tree.... which i am going to go do now.

Note: I wrote this earlier today on my palm pilot, and i did indeed go sit under a tree. It was not as glorious or wonderful as Friday's experience, but thats ok, it was still good. While you could ask for an experience like that every day, I think you would be disapointed if you expected, so i don't.

Cya all later,
God Bless

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