Aida and the Wind Atop a Dragon, Basho and Thermos Porridge, Beneath a Bamboo Bough.

Thermos porridge was a success!

Cooking time – the time it takes to flip the button on the kettle, make tea, and empty some oats into bag.
Meal Location: Bamboo thicket below the Dragons Back, Sheko Country Park, hong Kong.
Accessories: One banana, “On Love and barley – Haiku of Basho,” translated by Lucien Stryk a small runners size book of poems), and a bumbag to carry it all in.

I would like to say that I employed a slow cooking approach that lasted the length of a subway ride from Tin Hau Station to Shau Kei Wan and minibus to Shek-O Country Park ( all up about 40 minutes), but it wouldn’t be true. The dry oats were in a brown paper bag in my shorts-pockets, under a pair of light waterproof running trousers, for I wanted to run , then drink tea first before I began to brew porridge. The first cup i took at vertabrae T5 along the Dragon’ back in a misty rain carried on a blasting southerly from across the South China.
Alone on this ridge top , wind stunted vegetation leading steeply down to water on both sides, blue dawn mountains behind my back, I leapt boulders to the trails end shouting Matsuo Aida’s zen koan -When it’s rainy, I am in the rain. When it’s windy I am in the wind, to nobody but the sky and an eagle flying above who might have felt the same way.

This is a wonderful koan when its not too windy and not too rainy, whence-forth I am sprinting down goat tracks seeking shelter, which in this case I found in a bamboo thicket along with a new Zen Master to replace Aida.
I poured another tea from the thermos, then added the oats from my pocket into the half emptied thermos giving them and myself a good Ratu Bagus shake around, leaving them then to sit and porridgefy a moment whilst I read a poem from Basho whose haiku I had brought along for the bus ride.

“Learn about a bamboo stalk from a bamboo stalk” he instructed his disciples.

To write good Haiku I had to become the bamboo stalk, let the bamboo’s poetry speak through me explained Basho’s transalator Lucien Stryk.

As thermos porridge brewed, I visualized myself as one more stalk of bamboo in this sheltering grove, the wind playing with the tips of my leaves, rustling me in the wind against all my brother and sister stalks, all of us danceing free up high in our branches, more gently down low, our roots solid in the earth below.

And then the porridge undergoing a similar experience began speaking its haiku through me:
Married with tea
This thermos so hot. Shaking.
Ah. Freedom,
Light at the end of the tunnel
bamboo, -sky , – cup . Oh no.
Mouth, gullet. intestine.
Yum, coffee,
Ooh. a banana.
freak..lemon water,
euw. last nights dinner
Oh shit.

Basho eventually became a recluse, I read.

I left the bamboo and caught the number 9 bus to Sheko, then the 720 express to Wanchai, thinking that i must google thermos cooking when I get back to my computer.


3 Responses

  1. ha ha I like it

  2. I love this. That haiku was so…evocative. And hilarious. Imagine porridge writing haikus?! Poor porridge.

  3. Still giggling at the haiku. Giggled all the way home in fact. People kept looking at me on the bus.
    I think it should be entered into a haiku competition.

    I have only just rediscovered this blog, but I am going to have to go back and read all the other entries. I love this.

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