So fellow travelers, a little over an hour later, I defied the GPS directions to stay on the highway and headed south on Route 17 because I knew full well what wonders could be found along this alternate route.
There is something about a hearty meal of good comfort foods that fortifies a troubled soul. After a brunch of corned beef hash, poached eggs, rye toast and good strong coffee I definitely felt more settled.
Driving through the vibrant green hills, often alongside rushing waters which still retain their Dutch names for “creek” such as Fishkill, Mudkill or Littlekill, another Buddhist teaching came to mind.
In this story, two monks are traveling and come upon a woman standing at the bank of a river, afraid to cross because she cannot swim. One monk offers to carry her across on his back, much to the dismay of his fellow monk. Upon reaching the other side, the woman climbs down and bows in gratitude, thanking the monk for giving her safe passage across the rushing waters. The two monks continue on their way and after a while the other monk breaks his disgruntled silence, indignantly questioning how his companion could dare break sacred vows against touching women. To which the monk who had carried the woman across the river replies,
“For heavens sake, I left her at the bank, You however are still carrying her with you.”
Clearly he choose to be of service and let go of any “sin” incurred in so doing, but the other monk carried a burden of anger and judgment far longer than the first monk had carried the woman in need of help.
Rounding a bend in the road, I caught sight of a tall barren tree, filled with birds perched on the dead branches. The image spoke forgiveness which my heart accepted gratefully. Then, as they so often do, words began to weave thoughts into form
Forest bones stand tall
Feathered ornaments adorn
Purpose beyond death
Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready
Photo Note: the tree is a similar image which presented itself later in my travels when I could stop to take the photo. Add birds of your choice.
Oh and if you ever have the good fortune to travel along route 17 through Roscoe New York, do yourself the favor of stopping for a bite at the Roscoe Diner. It’s worth the trip.