A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Lao Tzu
In this case, not a thousand…merely 70. My journey. 70 to 70.
It began the morning of, with a single, deep and hard look.
I had dreamed I would be somewhere magnificent, sitting on a rock perhaps, gazing into the horizon at sunrise, breathing in the momentous beginning of the 70th day leading to my 70th birthday. Preparing myself for the final season in the course of my life.
But, as it turned out, there was no rock and no sunriz-horizon the morning of – instead I found myself at a Mindfulness Meditation retreat at Bodhi Kaya, a Buddhist Centre near Cape Town, half amazed to be gazin’ at a raisin. More than 50 of us in that hall, paying good money to sit on cushions with namaste looks and cramped lotus-leggs – inquiring into the wisdom of all things …well, raisin. The MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Release) version of speed dating.
I tentatively picked one out of the dish and gave it the 70 to 70 lookover.
“My you are a soft and wrinkly, fierce little noble raisin” I said, trying not to LOL.
It winkled back at me, taunting it’s sweetness.
“If you’re in such a hurry why didn’t you come yesterday?” it asked.
“You’re a smartassed little noble raisin you know that?– Ok so , if you’re so woke, why didn’t you say so yesterday?”
I was beginning to enjoy the date.
“You’re salty” I said
“You’re thirsty” it said back.
“Ok so show me your stuff,” I said, feeling the taught skin, the crevices and creases, the malleability of it’s soft overcoat of translucence. “What’s the point?”
“Raison d’etre” it said.
And I got it… each shrivelled moment of its life and mine. Face to the wind, soaked by the sun, drenched by the moon, nourished by roots dug deep in the moist earth. All of it, just as it is. Epic. Perfect conjunction of the time/space continuum. I felt the rush of endorphins pulsing through me, a deep sense of relief, or surrender to the great what-isness. Then I heard it, loud and clear, in the Yiddish accent of my grandmother – buried in the buddhist voice of the teacher.
“Enough praying already! Eat.”
I broke skin and sunk my teeth into the savage of sweet. Sweeter than sweet, it tasted of ripe sunshine. I got it. The journey. Somewhere to nowhere. This innocuous little grape, teaching me about time travel into the nowhere of now here. I looked into the room and saw the other raisin chewers, and could not help having a belly LOS as I laughed out silently.