Photograph by Steve McCurry, Young Boy, Peru
“Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and
opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken.
Take heed, do not squander your life.”
Dogen Zenji (1200 – 1253)
Before leaving sadness and tears, I would like to share a story from the book
OWL AT HOME by Arnold Lobel.
I must have read it hundreds of times to my children and every time found it incredibly original, true,
endearing, and somewhat perplexing.
Owl took the kettle out of the cupboard.
“Tonight I will make tear-water tea,” he said.
He put the kettle on his lap.
“Now,” said Owl, “I will begin.”
Owl sat very still.
He began to think of things that were sad.
“Chairs with broken legs,” said Owl.
His eyes began to water.
“Songs that cannot be sung,” said Owl, “because the words have been forgotten.”
Owl began to cry.
A large tear rolled down and dropped into the kettle.
“Spoons that have fallen behind the stove and are never seen again,” said Owl.
More tears dropped down into the kettle.
“Books that cannot be read,” said Owl,
“because some of the pages have been torn out.”
“Clocks that have stopped,” said Owl, “with no one near to wind them up.”
Owl was crying.
Many large tears dropped into the kettle.
“Mornings nobody saw because everybody was sleeping,” sobbed Owl.
“Mashed potatoes left on a plate,” he cried,
“Because no one wanted to eat them.
And pencils that are too short to use.”
Owl thought about many other sad things.
He cried and cried.
Soon the kettle was all filled up with tears.
“There,” said Owl.
“That does it!”
Owl stopped crying.
He put the kettle on the stove to boil for tea.
Owl felt happy as he filled his cup.
“It tastes a little bit salty,” he said,
“but tear-water tea is always good.”
…and now I look at leftover mashed potatoes in an entirely new way.
Thank you Arnold Lobel.