Sunday, August 24, 2014

Leaves of Concrete

I was powerwashing my patio yesterday, spraying away decades of grime, mold, mildew, and plain old dirt. Each sweep of the nozzle, blasting a scouring fan of water, stripped away sheets of filth, revealing the clean concrete hidden below. The process was slow and required that I inspect each area to make sure that I didn't miss any spots.

During the project, I discovered something amazing--impressed inside of the concrete was the outline of a small leaf. At some point, when the patio was laid, a leaf must have fallen onto the soft, impressionable concrete, and left its outline.

Although the leaf itself had long since disappeared, its impression remained.

The leaf, like all things on earth, is impermanent. We all come and go; our lives flicker into existence, shimmer for (perhaps) a few decades, and then fade away. Our legacies, however, survive us. Our choices, our children, friendships, art, teachings, these all continue like that leaf in the concrete, sending countless ripples throughout history.

While everything is impermanent, some things do last longer than others. This is important to remember: what we do matters. The Dharma that the Buddha taught 2,500 years ago continues today. Its form and shape have changed but its heart, its marrow, is still alive.

This reminds me: be mindful and act skillfully. Everything we say and do leaves impressions.

Take care.

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