A student asked Yunmen, “When the tree withers and the leaves fall, what’s that?”
Yunmen said, “The Golden Wind reveals itself.”

This koan came along at just the right time; funny how that happens. 

My wife had flown to Japan to accompany her 88-year-old mother back here for a visit. When we asked her mom what she wanted to do during her stay, as she has been here many times over the last thirty-five years, she said she wanted to see the White House in Washington, DC, and wanted to go by train. So … we got tickets and hotel reservations and contacted our representative in Congress regarding a White House tour. 

The plan was to go by Amtrak down the coast from Oakland to LA. We would spend the night and next day in LA exploring, then get on another Amtrak taking us to Chicago via the southwest route. Michael and Brooke Wilding were even going to meet us at our brief stop in Laming, New Mexico, to give us grapplesnaps for the trip. We were to arrive in Chicago at midday in time to take an architectural boat tour of Chicago that had been highly recommended. The next day we would fly to DC, arriving right before our tour of the White House. 

It sounded like a great adventure, but we had a different great adventure that began the morning of our departure when my wife woke up with a fever and positive Covid test.

Instead of our adventure to DC we had the adventure of isolating together for a week. As the plans for our trip withered and reservations fell into credits to be used sometime in the future, there was the golden wind of my wife getting Paxlovid and recovering, and her 88-year-old mother and I somehow not getting sick. There was also just spending time together, not distracted by the great adventure of traveling. Taking care of each other, worrying about each other, feeling the time together.

As for that “just the right time” thing I mentioned at the beginning—when I saw that our koan this week was the Golden Wind, we were already on the other side of our Covid adventure. But I recognized that it had been keeping me company all along. Sometimes it happens like that. The “right time” is now.

—David Weinstein, May 28th, 2024

David Weinstein Roshi



David Weinstein Roshi, Director of Rockridge Meditation Community


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