Carol Hyman

Mud Season in These Parts (near Karme Choling) Did it look like this when you first surveyed the ground-- barren, brown, and everywhere you look, mud? Takes a keen eye to see summer's flowers or autumn's abundance in this mess. But then a keen eye comes from experience and you brought lifetimes of it to these parts. You also brought other provisions useful to one hoping to coax from earth its full bounty: strong back willing to bend energy to work around the clock sense of humor that never gives up and patience, patience, patience A farmer with the land bred in his bones sees late snow blanket hill and rutted road and smiling says like his father before him "It's a poor man's fertilizer." So, with a twinkling eye you looked at our lives and pronounced: "the field of bodhi and the manure of experience." What a nice way to put it. We were full of it. Full of ourselves, mostly, and our glorious crusade to change the world. You stopped us in our tracks with a simple question: Why do you want to do that? And when we had blustered and blabbered and rendered the air full of opinions your response stopped us further: If you say so, sweetheart! Before generations of farmers, the earliest people in these parts studied their world with keen eyes and open hearts. They must have. How else could they have known that the tall trees, all brilliant flash in fall, in spring hold other wealth, hidden? They learned to pick the time, to tap and to refine the sap, and so to know essential sweetness, wisdom they passed on. You saw beneath the wild surface untended and untapped the seed of what we might become the sweetness we could share if we could just be coaxed to drop our tricks stop trying to fix what had never been broken and settle down to find what had been running in our veins the whole time unconquerable, pulsing, true. Now, after twenty years of non-stop thunderstorm raining blessings through all seasons, we too have begun to develop keen eyes. We find ourselves tending unlikely crops for these intemperate climes, lotus gardens and coconuts of wakefulness. Following your example, we know not to worry about seeing the harvest. Shoulders to the wheel of dharma, we just do it, steadily working through the slime and muck. Did it look like this to you, I asked when I started this poem yesterday, mud everywhere? Your answer brought a big laugh-- poor man's fertilizer overnight brown to white. Carol Hyman Barnet, Vermont 4.05.2007