I have read all of your submissions regarding my cognitive/psychic condition and have, following all the links and pursuing every line of reasoning, come to an ultimate and undeniable conclusion: I am the Maitreya. Go figure. Who knew? So, it is now my duty to teach pure Dharma to the world. I've added it to my "Things To Do" list and given it a priority of "Before I Die (Again.)" When I get around to it, you'll be the first to know.
And now, a true story I just made up:
We call her Wandering Grandmother. No one knows where she goes when she walks away over the hills to the south of the village. She stays gone for months. Once a year, though, she crests the hill and ambles slowly toward the shade of the giant, ancient oak near the empty, crumbling stone church at the edge of town. The people go out to greet her, bringing blankets and water and food. "Welcome back, Grandmother," we say. She laughs and reaches for our outstretched hands, grasping them for a long time with her shaky, rough, calloused hands. She holds your fingers with one frail hand and pats you softly on the back of your hand with the other as she tells you how much you have grown or how beautiful you are getting. Then she asks as many as have time to sit down and talk with her, because this is why she comes. She talks and talks and talks and listens and listens and listens. People from the village come and go, bringing warm bread or fresh milk or roasted potatoes or bowls of hot stew made from rabbit or venison. People bring more food and drink than Wandering Grandmother can finish, and she passes it around to the people who sit and talk with her. "Eat," she says. "Eat with me," and she laughs. At night she sleeps right under that tree, and the adults take turns making sure she is safe and warm until morning. After a few days, she stands to leave. We cry and beg her to stay with us. "You can live in my house, Grandmother," we say. "There is room." She embraces each person and laughs or weeps as she tells each one farewell. Then, taking nothing with her but what she brought, except maybe for a little fresh water in her pouch, she shuffles slowly away to the south. No one ever follows to see where she goes. "Out of respect," my father told me when I asked.
"Goodbye, little stony child," she said to me when last she was here, and she took me in her arms for a long time. When she let me go, she grasped my hand for a while longer. "The mountains stand and keep their shape in the wind and rain," she said. "The clouds do not. You are more like a mountain, little stony child."
"Thank you," I said, my cheeks flushing red.
"No," she said. "Be like the clouds." She put her hands on my cheeks so that I would look into her eyes. "Be like the clouds, little stony child."
I did not answer her. I could not.
Wandering Grandmother has been old for as long as anyone can remember. I think I know where she goes. I think a lot of people know, but no one says, out of respect. I cannot wait to see her again. I am trying to be like the clouds.
Hello, friends. How are you today?
P. S. - I want to express my appreciation and gratitude for your concern and kindness expressed in your responses, both in comments and emails, to my previous post. I am sincerely grateful for your thoughts on my behalf, knowing that each of us is filled up with cares and struggles of our own and that energy spent on the behalf of others is a precious and valuable gift. Thank you.