I watched them as they ascended, floating flits of ash and drifting smoke, and it occured to me that this was a much longer burn cycle than usual. Just when I thought the last, gasping wisp had risen, there always would come that crackle; an ember, some remnant that refused to completely exhaust itself. It happened tonight, just a bit ago, actually. The same surprise of sputtering followed by seemingly frenetic wavering and casting about; the ever-eager ember clawing for anything that would be fuel. Finding it, once more to expand and explode into the same bonfire as ever; growling skyward like its namesake, clawing at the sky as if there were purchase to be had.
And then, without warning (why is that always the way?), the utter vacuum of discovery smothered it so completely that I think I actually heard the final, exquisitely tender “pop” of the cracking core… Mudita and Mukti, meet in the hall of memory; smiling for entirely different reasons, they kiss and then, part.
I watched the last, trembling tendrils spiral upward and begin to dissipate; not noticing until now that I finally stood in the absolute center, the eternally peaceful eye; how do you know that’s what it is when there’s no more storm?
Still, I knew it and know it still.
The quiet before is nothing compared to the peacefulness when you know it is well and truly “after”.
The last curls, they looked like wreaths; topped by a star labeled, “Joy”.
I scattered the ashes, returned the circle of stones to less structured forms, and the only thing I could think to send was to send nothing whatever.
But I admit, I smiled for those smiles… a broken-hearted warrior, indeed.
bkrus chil chi’, mkhyen brtse nus pa’i ye shes, kun tu gso ba
om benza sattva hung
sealed. sealed. sealed.