Once upon a time there was a young Zen monk who lived in a small, old temple in the mountains studying with his old master, Tetsu-Jin. The temple was indeed old, poor and not well maintained. It was cold in the winter and hot in the summer, the roof leaked and the food was limited. The young monk didn’t like his temple, he felt sorry for himself and other monks that they have to practice in such misery. But though unhappy he never divulged his feelings to other monks and especially his old master, because he liked and respected him. (more…)

It was early morning and I had lots of paperwork to do. It was my first watch on this ship, the Caroline, being transferred to it just two days ago. I sat alone on the bridge as she moved south-west through the Atlantic at steady twenty knots. The ocean was empty, with nothing on radar for hours now so I looked up at the horizon only every ten minutes or so, working dutifully on all declarations, forms and other sorts of paper torture devised by appropriate authorities and our corporate managers. It’s funny that in this modern age computers can steer a 6000 TEU box boat almost on their own but can’t really reduce the paperwork required by all those containers.


It was a clear, summer night, with full moon glowing in the skies together with some stars. The park was quiet. Even during the day this hill was rarely crowded, as it was located far from all entrances and overlooked a large cemetery beneath. Only some older regulars knew it offered a great view on the city below, extended between the hills and the ocean. And calm. Especially so now, near midnight when the park was closed and all those who visited it during the day were now occupied with their lives in the vibrating sea of lights below.

Sitting on the only bench on top of the hill was a lone man. He looked quietly at the city before him. He was dressed in black, or at least that’s how his clothes appeared in the moonlight. It would be hard to tell his age, with his cleanly shaven, swarthy face and short hair he could easily pass as a twenty-something. He sat comfortably, with his back against the bench and hands in his lap, motionless. Only his eyes seemed alive, wandering on the horizon, following the dots of light moving in the streets below.


There are billions of images. Trillions. Trillions of billions. Each of us sees a thousand images every few minutes. Each of us lives a thousand and a half minutes every day. Each day is a stream of images. And there are six billions of us on Earth, just now. There were billions before us. There would be some more after us. Each of those has seen their own, private stream of images. Trillions of billions of images, scenes, pictures. A torrent, a waterfall of images.

Some try to catch the best of those they are privileged to see. They are like fishermen in a flood or wanderers in a desert trying to catch and preserve the most beautiful grains of sand in a raging sandstorm. They are trying to freeze images as we freeze food, trying to preserve its color, smell, taste. Trying to conserve the sparks of emotions they ignited within.

If they catch them with a machine, we call them photographers. If they do it with a hand armed with a brush we call them painters. If they do it with bare hands we call them mimes. And those of us who do it with words are called writers.

I have been out fishing tonight. I caught some moments – beautiful and not, reflective or sad, mostly black & white. I carried them carefully home, like butterflies, still alive in the grasp of my mind, still flapping their wings feebly. I will now pin them down with words, freeze them, so that I could revive them later in an attempt to induce them in others.

But why? I don’t know and I don’t even care. I have to. They seem so precious, those few out of myriad. They’re mine.

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