Sunday, December 8, 2013

Not Zen 88: Soul Sight

She found her mother reading a book on their front porch. When she was in the kitchen, she spied the top of her mother's head through the glass door. She shouted and waved. Her mother didn't turn from her reading. She shouted again. Her mother closed her lips tight and leaned closer to the book.

The girl realized that she wasn't being polite. She skipped through the front door and onto the screened-in porch, where her mother could notice her when the time was right.

"Momma, can you see someone's soul?" she asked when she got tired of waiting.

With a sigh, her mother closed the book. She leaned forward in her chair.

"No one can see a soul," she said. "Souls are hidden inside. If they exist, they're always changing. They live from moment to moment, like sparks of electricity in our brains and hearts."

"So you can't see them?"

Her mother shook her head. "No."

The girl pointed to the family cat.

"Not even the cat can see them," her mother said. She let her hand drop low, near the floor. The cat trotted over to it and rubbed itself on the fingers. "Souls might be fluctuations of chemicals in cells and between cells. We can't see them inside people. Cats can't see them. No one has the right eyes to see the pictures they make. They might be beautiful. But we'll never know."

The girl turned and marched away. She wandered from one room to another until she spied her father in the back yard. He knelt in the dirt as he transplanted a sapling maple tree.

"Daddy, can you see someone's soul?" she asked as she burst out the back door.

"Sadly, yes."

"You can?"

"Of course. So can you." He stood and picked up his spade. He sank the metal blade into the pile of dirt next to the tree. Then he paused and glanced at his daughter. "In every smile and frown, in every action and in every hesitation, we see one another's souls."

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