Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Second Picture

The boy matures.  He copies the sutras, practices the ancient crafts, learns the doctrines, absorbs the wisdom of the ages.  For ten years he studies traditional ways.

And then one day, sitting by a shaded stream, he sees an imprint in the mud.  Then another, and another.  He recognizes them: they are hoofprints, deep and fresh, traces of something massive.  The years of study tell him: these are the signs of the ox.

And so he follows.  He does not notice when the traces lead him away from the conventional path.  Nor does he notice when he begins to let go of the sutras, to discard the crafts, to cut through the thickets of doctrine.  He sees only the next print, hears only the pounding of his heart.  He breaks into a run, heading uphill.

The nose of the ox reaches the heavens, says the poet.  And I think: the Idea has caught the scent of something coming its way.  It enters a seeing-place, a place of revelation, where grass grows thick and sweet.  It stops and waits.


GO TO PICTURE  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10


1 comment:

Violet Dalla Vecchia said...

I looked at the picture before reading interpretations of the artist and poet, and saw butterflies instead of ox footprints. Butterflies are symbolic of rebirth, a new life form. A caterpillar crawling on the ground, dies, and is "resurrected" as a a butterfly, capable of flight, and infinitely more beautiful than in the previous life.

Is that a pail or bucket he carries in his left hand? Perhaps a means of carrying whatever he is gathering.

If he is looking up while running very fast, and in tall grass, no less (something I would never do ... sort of like texting while driving) he might very well stumble and fall. Is this but a momentary distraction from his earthly pursuits or objectives; perhaps an approaching storm or a formation of birds? Is his observation worth the risk he's taking? Must he always keep his "eye on the prize?" Are there not lessons to be learned from looking up, as well as down? (Or for that matter, all around?) How might the artist depict the use of his other senses and their contribution to learning more about the world in which he lives?

More questions to ponder before looking at Picture 3 next week.