Meeting and greeting a Buddha half-face

Dear President Trump,

It’s hard to believe there are still some quirks of mine that I’ve not previously shared with you, but I don’t think I’ve told you before that I frequently see stuff other people don’t see – literal stuff, not just connections between issues or ideas. I see faces in bits of debris or patterns in rugs or in drops of water pooled just so. I see outlines of birds, whales, and horse faces in cracks in sidewalks. I can’t help it – this stuff just pops out at me. I have hundreds of pictures documenting various sightings, but if I took pictures of all of them, I’d get nothing else done.

So why am I sharing this now, with 1,194 letters to you in the bag?

Well, I’ll get there in a sec, but first I need to set the stage. On my walk this morning I was on the sidewalk on the North side of the major arterial that runs perpendicular to our street and just past the mailbox on the corner (yay – we have a mailbox right nearby where we can deposit our ballots if we want to make more of a ceremony of voting than just putting them in our own mailbox outside our door!) I noticed a set of cracks in the sidewalk I hadn’t seen before. They’ve no doubt been there for years and years, but today those cracks announced themselves to me and I clearly saw half of a Buddha face – of the fat, happy, laughing variety. Even though I know exactly where it is and it’s not going anywhere any time soon, I took a couple of pictures – I’d share them with you but your contact page isn’t set up to get picture files.

So dang, there’s a half Buddha face in the sidewalk at the corner of 75th St and 18th Ave NE here in Seattle, WA right by the mailbox. The half face is butted up next to a deliberate seam in the sidewalk and whatever freeze/unfreeze actions caused the cracks didn’t act on the cement on the other side of the seam. At all.

I told you the other day that I’m reading (really re-reading) Pema Chodren’s “No Time To Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva” and so I think I was primed to see Buddha messages and I think this one is telling me (and now I’m telling you) that I (we?) need to be the other half of Buddha’s face – that the Buddha (Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou and all the other lovely saint-ish people who’ve ever existed) can’t do the work that needs to be done without us. Basically, this is the ‘we are the hands and feet of Jesus’ idea and it’s also the idea that we can’t sit back and wait for another Joan of Arc to swoop in and save us like I said the other day when I pointed out that it’s probably a good thing Joe Biden isn’t a Mr.-Charisma-who’s-gonna-solve-all-our-problems sort of candidate.

We’ve got to fill in the other side and realistically we can’t wait until our little faces mirror the Buddha’s or Jesus’s or Maya’s or anyone else’s face – we have to go with what we’ve got. And yes, I know I should be using “I statements” and not be pretending like I can speak for everyone with these grand “we pronouncements,” but it’s going to take legions of us to shift the dynamics on the ground away from the individualistic, greedy, profit-driven motives we are all so used to if we’re going to start seriously attending to the care and wellbeing of everyone and the planet. It’s going to take massive numbers of us stepping up to see this pandemic as the wake-up call that it is and working together to figure out how to live within our collective means without sacrificing even one of us.

May we not wait until we feel safe to make the changes we need to make.
May we be happy to stretch so we can be half-Buddhas.
May we commit to a cultural reset that prioritizes health and wellbeing.
May we make peace with seeing stuff that needs to be seen.

Tracy Simpson

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