( A REVIEW )
Dogen Zenji, a monk in the 13th century, said:
"As you penetrate the flowing and non-flowing of water,the ultimate character of all things is instantly recognized."
What does this mean? When you walk up a trail, what do you penetrate? Dirt? Rocks? Wind? When you walk up a flowing creek, what penetrates? Water? Fish? Rocks? How about movement? Light? Wind?
Robert Reese, in his fine essay Rivers and Mountains, walked up the Carmel River with his 3 year old daughter, totally involved in the stream. As stated in the story, after a while the daughter stopped, listened, and said "Daddy, the water is talking."
Rivers are like that. As long as they run free and don't dry up too much.
Again quoting Dogen:
"You should clearly examine the green mountains walking and your walking."
What could this mean? Reese explains what we can all surmise. California's mountains walk! The Gabilans and the Santa Lucias walk but not together. Check out the geological plates! When you look at the Ventana Wilderness and the inner mountains you see sandstone, granite, igneous rocks --- all from areas not near.
The complexity of our Wilderness drives our thinking into understanding what a unique place this is. Let's save for the three year old and all peoples so she and they can continue to see mountains walk and rivers talk!
Thanks to the author R. Reese of Rivers and Mountains for inspiration, from Parabola v.24 n.1 Feb 1999.
Photographs courtesy of and copyright Phil Williamson, 1998