A student asked Yunmen, ‘When the tree withers and the leaves fall, what is that?’ Yunmen replied, ’The golden wind reveals itself.’

~ Blue Cliff Record, Case 27

The mystery of koans is that these stories often conclude much differently and far fresher that what we might have expected. They can be clean and wonderfully unique. When I sit in the mornings, I look


hrough a window at a Monterey cypress. This koan, a favorite for autumn, sometimes feels to me like falling leaves, or a warm fire on a dark and wet night. This morning, looking into the cypress, I thought I would see raccoons returning to their nest. Instead, I saw framed in the branches the beautiful eyes and face of Liza Minnelli from the movie poster in Cabaret. It was a fleeting makyo (illusion), but what is not these days?

The oaks had a heavy crop this year, and the squirrels have been busy burying acorns. Our tomatoes and squash plants died back, so yesterday we pulled them and spaded in leaves and grass clippings as a bed for the winter. I was stiff getting up this morning, and my sore back followed me down the stairs. More makyo, I suppose.

It is nice to sometimes sense the fabric of things. Like how squirrels make my back sore. Somehow I thought of a song from a long time ago: ‘See me, feel me, touch me, heal me…’ Who’s song it is?