we are late. having eaten artisanal food pantry rosemary bread, plucked salmon berries off the bushes, played in the nettle, stared with child like glee at the cleavers and chickweed. I don’t wish to leave, but we must go if we want to see them. we are late.
it’s been almost seven years, and we walk quietly into the cathedral room. listening to the flat drum, and the large taiko reverberate throughout. silver cranes on one side and gold on the other. their voices call through out Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. daniel hands me the flat drum and lays down the pillow. I kneel with familiarity. I feel my body lean into this memory. I hear my voice become part of theirs. the drums and our voices rising into the rafters. seven years gone in seconds. my feet become numb. i shift. this hour.
Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo
we begin to read out of a book. sinji san reads first. a paragraph. gilberto san asks me to read. he does not recognize me. seven years. daniel tells him that he knows me. there is finally that surprised glimpse of recognition. sinji san immediately looks at me, and says that it can not be. i have not aged. seven years. we hug and look at each other with wonder. seven years gone.
sinji san cooks dinner. we drink green tea and talk to gilberto san about politics and activism. I vaguely remember the woman who felt so passionate about these ideas. she tries to rise out of these seven years. gilberto san asks me what i am working on. he knows i am a mother. i answer simply: herbalism. he understands this activism. he smiles at me. this is someone that i want to impress. he hears my voice that speaks softly of community. he knows this silent form of activism that settles into your everyday actions and becomes part of who you are; becomes part of everything you do. becomes your body in action, in walking, in voice, in living. being.
we laugh about jun-san stories. the nun who proclaims so boldly: “My name is Dangerous.” I laugh at the Bronx Monk who yells back, and tells Hard-core Environmental Cyclists to mind their own dam business.
i had forgotten what it was to be here. i want to keep it. i love seeing these three faces. we eat together. we talk about the fortune of our lives. the world outside of this bubble is often times sad and horrific. i hear the stories of activists hoping to make change. i hear the failures, but there is hope. they continue to walk. gilberto san tells me about his next adventure. going to mexico leaving the safety of this island. bainbridge will not contain him. he will push forward, and this is why i love these people. they take risks. they live with passion for those things that they believe in. they are in my heart. their chant has never left. it has simply been silent, but it is within me. waiting to come forward.
we eat together in silence. it is getting dark, and we need to cycle home before the sun is gone. i do not have lights on my bike. gilberto san asks sinji san to sign a book for me. he sits down and begins to brush the paper with beautiful calligraphy. he finally turns towards me and shows me the page. it is so gracefully writen: Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo and then there is my name moona san. he has translated my name. Moo Na he has written two words beside the flowing characters: dream and vegitable (the spelling)
i am the dreaming vegetable.
i ride home thinking about my roots in the ground absorbing nutrients. these roots that nourish and provide. these roots digging deep, and sorting through the mysteries and beauty of life