Undated journal entry, circa 1994:
Revelation comes when you least expect it, as illustrated by the following words.
I was in a hurry but getting nowhere, stuck in morning traffic and eager to get home because I was expected at work in a few short hours. A rising tide of irritation - caused by the traffic congestion which had brought me to a grid locked stop on the freeway - dampened my spirits and fouled my mood. I was, perhaps, cursing the traffic when I realized the utter silliness of my attitude. It was like a light being switched on in some dark corner of my mind, I can explain it no better than that. Quite suddenly I saw, as if for the first time, the beautiful blue sky above and around me. I became aware of the music on the radio, a favorite song poured like clear water from the speakers. This is it, I realized. This is my life right here and right now, the place where I am going does not matter until I get there! What does matter, what is completely relevant, is this moment - big blue sky, good music and myself, living and breathing.
I stopped cursing and was surprised to find a smile on my face. Let the traffic back up to infinity and beyond! I am alive and I am happy to be here.
I wonder if I was familiar with the term, satori, when I wrote the above. It seems I would have used the word if I had known it. Reading this now it strikes me as wilfully optimistic, especially the last few sentences. Also, it reminds me of a poem I wrote within a year or so of the above:
One Moment in the Thick of Traffic
Traffic is backed up for miles,
the car is overheating
in 90 degree weather
there�s not a damn thing
worth listening to
on the radio.
bobbing along on heat waves
above grid locked cars
brings a welcome
Both of these pieces are inspired by two real and separate events. I think I captured the experience best in the poem. The haiku and tanka influences that shaped this second piece are quite evident. The poem was published in 1996 - a small San Francisco based 'zine called The Typewriter. My name is actually on the cover. If I take that name, Richard Cody, and do a search on Google (not an uncommon activity for bloggers) I find that "I" make four appearances in the top ten results returned. It is strange to think of this presence I have created on-line. Words and ideas belonging to some past incarnation of myself haunt small pockets of cyberspace. Readers of the words I have written conjure ghosts of me through those words. I am rising now from the past before you, telling you about moments of lucid and jewel like clarity in cars.
Seems unlikely, doesn't it?