II. Finding a Porcupine in the Forest and Naming a Mountain

Guided to the forest by his nose, I let my hound meet and smell every dog and post that he meets, tail always wagging on the way; the dog has Buddha nature. We enter the bluffs by the high schools smoking section, marked and marking its stupas of garbage cans, old fence posts and its vacancy. And there, the tranquillity of the ravine, the path meandering down through tall, narrow birch trees, where a porcupine off in the distance runs out of view. Curiosity makes me lead that sniffing Buddha nature to a place where I could get a better vantage point, and though we are uphill, the hound doesn’t mind the welcoming of smells new and familiar. And even I can notice the first auroma of spring releasing off the young pines and ceder. The porcupine, avoiding every glance except the first one, and I taking every path I think would bring me closer, getting nowhere, but taking the path I impose as getting me farther, I majesticate distance and soon forget about the porcupine. Finding a marked grave at the foothills of my favorite path I’d never noticed until this moment, that lead up into the steepest points, and upon climbing up and seeing the valley below as it shakes off its winter snow, I name my first mountain in honour of the grave which housed the bones. Or was it the collar, like Bodhidharmas one sandal, of quite a holy golden retriever that I would have bowed to and taken up as master. Me, his wagging tail, puppy-eyed disciple. How many hits of the cane would it take, and would I learn about how tight the leash is and the collar? Here, have I confused them with the knot and the shrinking noose that forms from it? And such a puny mountain it is, and such an immense valley. Would a hermitage do well here, with so many dogs walking in their nirvana.

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