Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Unprecedented Events – Part 1

Sunday, August 21st, 2011:

It all started with one seemingly innocent statement.

“It’s so quiet.”  Zen Master muttered with a slight frown.  He said this a moment after we left the house, but I wasn’t really paying attention.

Zen Master, Zen Mum and I were out and about, doing our usual nothings on a bright, sunny Sunday.

In the midst of our power-walking around the high school track, Zen Master glanced around the trees and remarked again about the quiet. 

While we were grocery shopping, while I was lugging bags of foodstuff out of the shopping cart into the car trunk, Zen Master looked up at the blue sky and mumbled . 

While we were window-shopping around the mall, again as we stepped out into the parking lot to go home, Zen Master tilted his head towards the sky and paused.

This was happening all day long.  It wasn’t until we finally came home that I finally bit the bullet and asked.

“What’s so quiet?”  I watched him look back up at the sky and glance around for something.  “You’ve been acting funny all day.  Are you okay?”

“There’s no birds.”  Zen Master  remarked.  “There hasn’t been any birdsong all day.  No crickets singing.  No anything.”

That was when I became aware of his observation.  There was no sound.  No wind.  No birds.  No crickets. 


“I wonder where all the birds went.”  Zen Master murmured.  “It’s just so strange.  I wonder what’s going on.”

This reminded me of the Chinese folklore that he loved to tell me about once in a while.  The condensed version was that on the 7th day of the 7th month of each year, all the birds would disappear and there would be utter silence across the land.  They all were helping the children of a Goddess visit their immortal mother in only that one day out of the entire year.

I’ll tell you about it sometime.

But that Sunday was like a page out of that Chinese folklore.

Except it wasn’t the 7th day of the 7th month of the year.


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