Fly

Fly in the Shofuso House

            A buzzing fly explored the Japanese Garden outside the Shofuso House in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Attracted by bird droppings, purple with mulberry, and having feasted, the fly searched bamboo, then landed on Buddha’s nose.  Being stone, Buddha could not brush the fly back into flight.  When the fly saw the speck of seed floating on the pond, he went to investigate, flying over the flowing shapes of koi—yellow, orange, white, tiger.  They eyed the fly as he eyed the seed, but the fly eschewed the seed so the koi were forced to eschew the fly.
            Next the fly found Stone Pagoda, a stack of roofs as symmetrical and repetitious as the fly’s own eyes, each shelf with the prospect of some small decay ready to feed upon, but the pagoda was bare, newly swept by one of the gardeners, who was, unknown to the fly, readying for the Tea demonstration.  The fly buzzed into the immaculately swept Shofuso House.  After drinking drops of nectar—the fresh cut flowers were weeping in their beauty—the fly found the room where the Tea ceremony would take place, and, with it, the prospect of crumbs.  But he was swatted at, and he hid outside in Stone Lantern.  He was a black speck where light might have shined had the stone lantern been paper and lit. 
            The fly knew nothing of the beauty and meaning of Buddha, of brocaded koi, of Stone Pagoda, Tea House, and Stone Lantern.  He drank from the water bowls outside the Tea Garden and did not know its clarity, its ability to wash away care, to transform the world.   But the fly remained in the garden, content, making his own meaning with wings and flight, his mouth to everything.
            The Tea Ceremony began as the fly lit on the purple leaves of a Japanese maple.  A worm had chewed some soft spots there, and the fly bent to share.  A butterfly, more erratic and beautiful, found blossoms that matched yellow wings, but the fly was not jealous.  He waited, and when the Tea Ceremony was finished, and the master walked from the house, and spat the smallest fleck of tea leaf on a stone, the fly alighted on that fleck and became drunk with the power of jasmine.  A bird swooped down and swallowed the fly into blackness.  The green, purple, yellow, orange, the striped grasses, the foaming bubbles, the fringes of algae, the statuary and its placement—all that the fly had known so briefly—were swallowed, too.
            Soon, the bird made a dropping, and another fly lighted on it, and, satisfied, began to explore the garden beauty of the Shofuso House in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

 

 

 

 

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