When you live in a carefully-disordered, random-access chaos, certain objects – particularly sheets of paper – have a way of vanishing for long stretches, then reappearing periodically, like whales coming up for air. They lead a sort of freelance, free-range life in among the more necessary, more coralled stuff. Today, one of these surfaced again.
It's a sheet of A4, on which I have printed these words, in what must be a 48 point type:
The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection. The water has no mind to receive their image.I can't now remember why I did this. It's a well-known poem or proverb – anonymous, I think – which Alan Watts and others have often used in their writings about Zen. A teasing sense of revelation flickers about it, like a half-remembered dream.
Whenever this sheet reappears, from between two books, or in among a sheaf of bank statements and electricity bills, it strikes me that these are words that all artists who work "with" the landscape – aligning this with that, echoing one thing with another – should remember. Deceptively simple, they mean so much more than they say.
I also always think, "I should do a blog post about that", and now I have.