A wet, gray day. Sky wrapped up in cloud shrouds, snow returning to water.

“Where does the water return to?” Aussie asks the horse at the corner farm where we’re walking.

“Into the earth,” says the horse.

“And where does the earth return to?” asks Aussie. “Never mind, I’ve been around too many Zen people lately.”

They start off by exchanging greetings—“How you doing?” “Awesome. How you doing?”—“Fine.” Live and let live.

In the country, the weather is the biggest topic. I noticed that back in 1993, when I lived near Woodstock, New York, and people constantly talked about the weather. What an odd conversation, I thought then. Who cares?

After 22 years of life here, I don’t feel that way anymore.

The snow is melting, leaving mud in its wake, reminding me that before spring with green grass and perennials, there will be mud. And I must get out there to clean out all the branches and twigs of the winter, as well as the dog poop.

I had an appointment for a haircut, left Lori with various precautions, but the haircutter had gotten it wrong and couldn’t take me, so I left, and on the porch I saw two Buddhas, Shakyamuni and Jizo, alongside plants and a porch chair, under a sign It’s All Good.

There was a time I would shake my head at that. 2,500 years of strict monastic discipline and practice, transformed into porch accessories alongside the water bowl for the cat. Welcome to America.

I don’t feel that way anymore, either.

It’s a very simple life here. No big highlights, no big lowlights. Getting back home, I checked up on Lori—it’s her birthday today and we shared a few chocolate cupcakes from Whole Foods. I fed the dogs and folded laundry.

This simple life is way too advanced for me, I’m still not there. Can I live with less drama? Can I live with fewer projects, fewer dreams? How do I live without big stimuli, without things that rouse up the emotions? And what will I write about?

“Write about nothing,” says Aussie.

How do I write about nothing?

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