Yes, it’s April 5th, and it’s snowing here in Wisconsin. Sigh. The bright side points: it’s Sunday, so I don’t have to go out. The view out the window over the laptop is beautiful. The snow makes it a “good writing” day (which is almost as good as a “good hair” day). I have a working furnace, food, and a good novel to read when I’m done writing.


I’m working on a poem about understanding a zen koan — the process and the frustration. In case you don’t know, a koan is “a paradoxical anecdote or a riddle that has no solution; used in Zen Buddhism to show the inadequacy of logical reasoning.” – Wordnet. So, any attempt to understand or solve a koan is tautological. Circumlogical. Impossible? That hasn’t stopped generations of zen practitioners, and it won’t stop me. Contrast a koan with a mondo, which (I think) has the same goal, but uses a question and answer model to elicit an insight. I usually do “get” them or at least gain an insight from them. It takes adding a parallax point-of-view, or widening back, or minding the edges.

A recent entry on my Zen Page-a-Day calendar® was this one — which I still don’t understand: “What is the Way? In a dead tree, the dragon sings.” Thank you, March 17. Arghh.