by Robert Hilles

For Rain

To love is to face forward
To believe in
The heart’s perfect quiet
You tell me
How Buddha
Held a fist full of stones
Walked into the forest
And did not drop a single one
He walked for miles
Not really going toward
Or away from any particular place
Just walking because
By putting one foot in front of the other
The body stays in balance
Life always lived at the halfway point

Buddha passed lotus plants
Passed tamarind trees
Passed mushrooms
Attached to the side of trees
It did not rain the whole
Time he walked
Instead the sun overhead
Was so hot
The stones started
To burn his palms
But he continued to walk
Because the stones were
They embodied his soul
And every other soul
Were proof that to cling
Is to be and to be is to cling

Yes you said see
I have been talking about
Love the whole time
How I love you
And I felt your love
Although I didn’t
Have a story like yours
Not remotely like it
I told you instead about
Bears and how they hibernate
In winter in Canada for up to seven
Months at a time
Only breathe once every 45 seconds
Their hearts stop between each breath
They do not excrete in that time
Their bodies break down
The fat and muscle into nutrients
And that turns into nitrogen
Which in turn builds muscles
So that when they wake up
Seven months later they can
Simply walk out of their cave
Their muscles nearly as strong
As when they went in
Even if they are in a mental stupor
For a few days after they wake up
When they go outside
The leaves are all back on the trees
The sun will be warm again
They’ll find berries already ripe
And salmon in the rivers
Everything exactly as they left it
All those months ago

I see now that love
Is like hibernation
A waking from a long sleep
All that was there before
Now gone
Yes love is like hibernation
And a fist full of stones
How all that converges
So perfectly so

— from Juniper Volume 2, Issue 1