the greatest wisdom
isn't found in
the teaching of the
great spiritual masters, but
right out there in your front yard.
wisdom speaks as loud as falling coconut, and you
can't do anything more than
laugh and laugh and laugh.
It’s Saturday afternoon.
The sun in shining, and the dry season has arrived, meaning no more monsoon rains, and perfect weather for the next six months. Children play in the lane, and the low murmur of voices from the house next door reminds me that there’s little space between us, and even less privacy. Looking through my front gate, I see the cooks who work for a nearby restaurant sitting on low stools. They always seem to be laughing, and whenever I pass, they wave and smile. A rooster crows.
I spread my purple beach towel out on the lawn, and stretch out. Clouds float by, a few birds soar high. I count 20 butterflies – none the same color- on my flowering bushes. Next door, the carpenters pound and hammer in a new house they’re building. I put in my ear buds and listen to Silvio Rodriguez.
Tiny ants with wings crawl up and down blades of grass. They’re quick and diligent: intent. I close my eyes. And then:
The whole earth shakes. I open my eyes to see that but a few feet from me, a coconut bigger than my head has fallen to the ground. Above me, the swaying palm tree is three stories high. Two of those diligent ants I had been watching but minutes before are now squished. A few feet closer, and I would have been squished.
Shamash would have been squished. Shamash would have been smashed.
And then, out there under the palm trees on my purple beach towel, I laugh. Out loud. Laugh like the second time I parachuted and accidentally landed a mile from the airport and no one could find me. I laugh loud enough for the cooks down the lane, the neighbors on the right, and the carpenters on the left, to hear.
Loud enough for the other coconuts up there to hear.
I laugh for the irony of it all.
With all the talk of bird flu and a possible quarantine, with all the fear of what just might happen in this country and in all of South East Asia, in the end, it just might be the coconut that gets ya.
We are not in control, no matter how much we try to create a safe, risk-free environment.
When it's my time to go, it's my time to go.