We do not speak of geography, so shortcuts cannot affect our way. I cannot even permit your saying “No shortcuts,” because the blackbird must sing three notes before it sings a fourth, because there are (movements to be passed through) no shortcuts, because the bubbles that rise to the pond’s surface must work their way through the lily roots, and each concentric circle touch the shore. This is not geography, because we cannot foretell where we are going, seeing as how we are carried, and know only where we have come, recognized if we are lucky by where we were last. The rose leaf has no destination when it drops through the trellis and could not land on the bench without drifting by the hedge and does not after all stay anywhere. A breeze lifts it beside the cat who comes round the corner of the hedge to find the lizard, a surprise impossible to fall upon by crawling through the hedge with any idea of shortcut. I find myself in a garden of no geography, and could not have come another way when I did not even know this as a place where we would arrive.
Judith Lee Stronach (1943–2002) was a journalist, poet, arts patron and social activist. A leader in numerous human rights and peace organizations as well as Buddhist groups, she was also a great friend to Inquiring Mind and served as poetry editor for the past few years.