I took a longish walk through the reeds today. They are tall, some almost 20 feet tall. They swayed and whispered in the wind and I had an odd daydream as I walked along, that I was on my way home after an arduous battle. The reeds to my left bowed to me in waves as I walked. Nobody else bows to me, so I thanked the reeds for their bowing, remembering something that someone once told me, that bowing honors the one who bows. Those reeds must be very honorable, as they bowed up and down constantly, like Tibetan prostrators on the road to Lhasa.
In my dream I was living in some dusty place centuries ago, coming back from some battle that I barely knew the reason for and did not care about anyway. All I knew was that I had done my job and was exhausted. Something or someone was bowing at the side of the road I was on. Maybe it was reeds; it could have been people. I was too tired to tell. There was whispering in the air, and I could not make out the words. The sunshine was very bright and I thought that same line, bowing honors the one who bows. I recalled that the bowing is a good thing because it was good for those bowing. I was too tired to connect the bows to me and possibly it was just reeds bowing, nothing personal, just a good practice happening at the time I was there.
It does not matter who bows. It is good if someone or something shows appreciation with a bow. Showing respect is a good attitude and the reeds were not doing anything wrong by bowing. Appreciation is not the norm in this world, and I was happy for the appreciation of the reeds, improving their own karma (if they have any) by bowing repeatedly in the wind. It occurred to me that the afternoon’s “appreciation” may well be the most appreciation I will ever get. Certainly the number of reeds bowing today was enormous.
A guest left today, expressing appreciation as he departed. I told him to come visit again soon. He meant it and I meant it. However, neither of us bowed.
Today’s bowing was a more private event, between me and the reeds, out under the sky. I felt honored to be in the presence of those constantly bowing reeds. There was nothing half-hearted about them. I felt honored to be in the wind, and it made me think of the mountain winds I had known in the West of China.
Appreciation from a reed or a tree is whole-hearted, more than honeyed words you sometimes hear from people. I was glad to have passed by the whispering reeds today.