The Body Exposed, The Golden Wind

 

A monk asked Yun Men, “How is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?”
Master Yun Men said, “Body exposed in the golden wind.”
— Case 27, Blue Cliff Record

One day in August you realize it will be autumn soon; Fall is such a harsh word for the golden days that in a way carry more hope than spring. Not that it suddenly got colder, on the contrary, a certain warmth in the air pushes you forward towards adventures you would not even have thought of in spring.

To paraphrase Genjo Koan, we don’t call autumn the end of summer, we don’t call summer the beginning of autumn. Yet every moment has the seed of the next moment in it together with the unknown what happens next.

When Marc mentioned the line that had followed him the whole day – body exposed in the golden wind – I immediately had a warm feeling, I could feel the wind and it is consoling; and while the first announcement of autumn in the middle of a warm day has a certain forlorn quality, the last rays of sun early November bring the golden light onto the last leaves slowly sailing down to a wet ground.  Every year, every life, every single moment not only has its autumn, it has its golden light.

Herbsttag

Befiel den letzten Früchten voll zu sein;                Command the last fruits to be full;
gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,                   give them just two more southern days,
dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage                urge them on to completion and chase
die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.                 the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Rainer Maria Rilke: Herbsttag.                              English: (C) Edward Snow 1991
21.9.1902, Paris

 

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