Tag Archives: park

Voices in the Trees

Meditation is reaching into my psyche and teasing loose unexpected and wonderful sensations. It’s like following a path through Hansel and Gretel’s forest but instead of leaving a trail of crumbs, I’m collecting a trail of treasures someone left along the way.


The other day, when I was walking in the park, I looked up into the trees and they suddenly took on an almost surreal clarity and vibrancy. I could see the outline of each leaf and sense the nuanced differences in the gradations of their greens. Each one was unique. I experienced a profound connection to those leaves; it felt like I could name each one and describe its personality.

Alfred Greenleaf likes chocolate ice cream and once shoplifted a packet of colored pencils. He still feels guilty about it.

Wendy Leafblower dreams of one day going skydiving. In the meantime she crochets tea cozies and is addicted to reruns of Friends.

Howard Leafmealone is something of an introvert and wishes the other leaves would give him some space.

Brenda Longleaf is self conscious about the length of her veins.

Merry Greensleaves wishes she was a needle on a Christmas tree.

George Mapleleaf is something of a sap.

While that babel of personalities was revealing itself to me, at the same time the voices of the leaves seemed to be humming a gentle melody with layered harmonics, the autumn breeze smelling of sunshine and playing a woodwind accompaniment to chirping crickets and the last of the summer cicadas.

It was as if all of those layers of life and energy and music had always been there, just under the surface, but I had never noticed them.

What other wonders are waiting for me just around the next bend in the path?

Homeful Strays

I had some time to kill the other day. The weather was pleasant, cool enough in the shade, and there was a nice breeze, so I sat on a bench in a park. There were lots of trees and a large fake waterfall that provided background music. It was hard to believe that I was just down the street from the skyscraper district in Shinjuku.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAThe district includes the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, which looks like a giant transformer robot stuck head first into the ground. There are other tall office buildings, including the 55 story Mitsui building where I work, and the Hilton and Keio Plaza Hotels.

Not far from where I was sitting, there was a homeless person’s abode.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAIt appeared to be a wooden or metal frame lifted up off the ground and covered with blue plastic tarps. Next to it was a wheeled cart with a large wooden box on it, also covered with plastic tarps secured with bungees. On top of the box was an open umbrella propped in place with a stone, and under the umbrella was a sleeping cat.

The abode seemed to be fairly sturdy and not all that temporary, so would this qualify the owner as homeless or homeful? And was it a stray cat living with a homeless person, or a homeful cat living with a stray person?


We were sitting on the swings in the park today. There was nobody else there except a homeless guy who was rubbing his ankles and having an intense conversation with some rather inattentive pigeons. Five little boys arrived on bicycles and I thought, “Good. That’s what the park is for.”  Then the boys sat on a bench and pulled out their Game Boys, every one of them. Does that count as playing?