The upcoming cross-country move is not going to be easy, but the hardest part will be only having walkie-talkies to keep in touch as we both drive much larger vehicles than we’re used to. We had a plethora of navigational mishaps on our Ambling Full Tilt journey and that was with one of us always as a full time navigator armed with an atlas and Google Maps.
We won’t have that luxury so it’s even harder that we can’t see or touch each other as we cover those many, many miles. And to add insult to injury Dani will be piloting the U-Haul truck, which have never been accused of being aesthetically pleasing.
At least Charley has calming blue velour and inspiring oak accents, to say nothing of this:
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As my eyes fell upon Charley's ashtray collection of compost starting juju (minus the bottle cap and token), they got misty noticing the single hop from Kara Kahl. The hop reminded me that this time as we travel across the long miles, we won't get to see our farming friends we met last year along the way. We have to take the "ugly route" all the way across on I80 to save time and more logistical challenges. Each of these items has a story and tells a part of ours. We'll get to that. ❤
So when we were bestowed with a cornucopia of wonderful parting gifts from our friends Will and Terese (and Yvonne!), Dani was ecstatic to see this:
One week in to the Ambling Full Tilt journey Dani commented on Facebook:
Road games Volume 1: sing HUUULAAA BUUDHAAAA to the tune of “Wooly Bully”. We’re thinking of attaching a spring to the bottom of Hotei. (Thanks to Kurt for the song inspiration. It’s officially an incurable ear worm.)
1.2: Charley’s latest theme song: Lawd, I was born a rambling vaaaaan…
Never quite able to forget the image of a hula-dancing Buddha – how could it not make a person smile? And magically before we start our next cross-country trip, here we go: a Buddha on a spring! It’ll turn the drab U-Haul into a cockpit of awesomeness!
As I was writing Will a thank you note I included this story with a link to the Wikipedia article on Budai (whom we call Hotei and rub his belly the first time we get in Charley each day). I was familiar with a fair bit of the Budai folklore (why else would he inhabit Charley’s dashboard?), but I had never read this article before.
Lest anyone think we are being flippant or crass having fun with Buddhist traditions, let me share the following. As I read through the Budai/Hotei article thoroughly the remaining traces of sadness at leaving things behind, which had informed my last post, vanished.
Budai/Hotei is usually seen as the Maitreya or the Buddha that will appear in the future of this world; the successor of the current Gautama Buddha, if you will. He is always smiling or laughing. He is always poor, carrying what little possessions he has in a cloth sack. In fact his name means “cloth sack.” This combination has resulted in him being regarded as the embodiment of contentment. Tradition often has him entertaining children and giving them gifts from his cloth sack; what little he has he is happy to share. Being fat, others have obviously been happy to share with him in kind.
Wise and content he wanders with little material wealth, enriching and being enriched by the lives he encounters.
It is said the historical Budai was an eccentric Chan monk. Chan is the Chinese Buddhist tradition that led to the rise to Japanese Zen. There is a koan that discusses him directly:
Budai was travelling, giving candy to poor children, and only asking a penny from the monks or lay practitioners he would meet. One day a monk walked up to him and asked: “What is the meaning of Chan?” Budai dropped his bag. The monk continued: “How does one realize Chan?” Budai then took up his bag and continued on his way.
From where we are in life this makes me think: You can’t pick up the bag if it’s too heavy. If you can’t pick up the bag, you can’t move. If you can’t move, you can’t live. I am living. I am content. I am, in fact, happy. Even if there are some moments where I am not smiling or laughing. Those are mere moments. The general course is replete with smiles and laughter.
Life is all fun and games! Even if it’s not sometimes. As I conversed with my dear friend Tyler last night we talked about this extensively. How can I say life is all fun and games? Because to argue it isn’t is to argue that it has a “point.” But be careful asking what the point of life is because you can very quickly get trapped in a maze of illusions.
I’m reminded of Alan Watts’ words (to paraphrase): to ask “what is the point of life?” is like asking what is the point of dancing? Or what is the point of a symphony? Do you aim for a particular point on the floor? Do you rush through a performance just so you can play the final note? Of course not. Dancing is the point; playing or listening is the point.
Life is an art, not a project. If you can take 15 minutes to listen to Alan Watts articulate this art, I would highly encourage you to do so. Even if you don’t agree with some of what he says it is very much good food for thought.
On what it’s all about:
On the nature of life – and death:
What can be said about the “point” of it all?