It all started a few weeks ago. I was minding my own business doing the usual things like taking out the garbage and talking to the neighborhood cat. It was an early Tuesday morning and I looked forward to a quiet day. I picked up the paper and headed back into the house unaware of what was about to happen.
I went back into the house poured myself a cup of coffee. It was black, black as the type that poured stories across the morning news. Ok, may it wasn’t that black, but it was black. The news was the usual faire, people unable to sort out truth from fiction. Stories of people who went to far, risked everything and won. When I was done reading the comics I decided to get up and go for a walk. Me and the Mrs. had been trying to get in shape for the upcoming choir trip. We put on our shoes and stepped out the door.
As we passed our next door neighbor’s yard, her paper had not been picked up yet so I did the neighborly thing and put it on her porch. We continued on our walk not suspecting what we would find on our return. The paper I had put on our neighbor’s porch was in our driveway. I didn’t think about it much. Maybe she just misunderstood. So I pickup the paper and put it in the recycling bin.
The next day dawned early and bright, like mornings have a tendency of doing. I went out as usual and picked up my paper. I looked over at my neighbor’s driveway just to see if her paper was there. Sure enough, there it was all neatly bundled up with its rubber band which can’t go in the recycler because it needs to go in the trash. I went back inside. All was right with the world.
It was getting late, the kids at Lotus Preschool would be waiting. So I picked up my things and got ready to go. When I opened the garage door. it was like a call from some distant planet, there it was. It sat there in our driveway like nobody’s business. The morning paper which I had just read, ok maybe just skimmed, I usually get my news through the internet, was sitting in the driveway. Needless to say I did a double take.
What was the paper doing in our driveway? Was there someone messing with us? Was she angry at us? I should have trimmed the kaki tree. I picked up the paper and brought it into the garage. I stood there, dumb founded. Was she trying to say something? She was a nice neighbor, didn’t say much, but lately she was acting a little peculiar. Like the other night, we were starting our grill. It was our usual time around 9:00 in the evening. The coals were just getting started, white smoke billowing everywhere. Suddenly, she turned on her backyard lights. Like she was looking for someone. And then just as suddenly they went off.
I know this is all very paranoid. But there were other things. Like when she left her lights on. Just one room. On constantly. Day in and day out. And we never saw her. Was she becoming a recluse.
Finally, one morning, I saw her in her front yard. I decided go over and talk with her to find out what was going on.
Turn out she stopped reading the paper a long time ago and the canceled her subscription. That was maybe 15 years ago. She thought that the paperperson was mistakenly tossing our paper on her driveway, so she was tossing it back on ours.
I began to think about the Dharma. Sometimes I don’t see things as there are. Sometimes all it takes is a little conversation.