This morning, in the few minutes before it was time to send my niece off to school, I noticed that she was reading a 300-something page book.

I know she’s read the Harry Potter series, so it’s not like I didn’t know she can read, but seeing her hold this book in her hands, completely absorbed in it, I suddenly remembered that there was a time she was reading books with 10 pages. This is the same person!?

Then we walked over to the bus stop and stood with our faces turned toward the sun, waiting. Soon the other kids and some parents showed up, and in a moment the bus came around the corner. We hugged goodbye, and that was that, another morning gone according to plan.

As I walked back home, I walked toward the sun’s rays and realized that this was the first time I needed to put on a light jacket in months. Suddenly before my mind’s eye there were all the trips to and from the bus stop, in all the jackets, raincoats, sweaters, hats, shoes that have change with the seasons over the past few years…

There is this swiftness, this constant tick-tock, a growing awareness that the sands of time stop for no one, not even me.

And so the closing zen chant (evening gata) echoes through my mind:

Let me respectfully remind you
Life and death are of supreme importance
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost
Each of us should strive to awaken…
Take heed.
This night your days are diminished by one.
Do not squander your life.

Source: Still Mind Zendo


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