Stumbled upon a web site devoted to Six Sentence Stories today. After a long spell in which everything I thought about writing looked either too big to attempt or too small to matter, six sentences seems like just enough to bite off and chew. So by way of working myself back into writing shape, and by way of celebrating day one of the new school year, here's one for today:
I’m becoming better at reading the tea leaves. That little cluster over there, for example, looks a lot like the knot that Aristotle refers to when he says, in his Metaphysics, “To have stated well the difficulties is a good start for those who wish to overcome them; for what follows is, of course, the solution of those very difficulties, and no one can untangle a knot which he does not see.” And that long thin open space over there at the bottom, may very well the gap between what we might wish for and what we are actually going to get. The dark moist sheen on the threaded leaves in the middle is in all likelihood the visual analogue of the first-day spirit of optimism which will, by the end of next week, have dried up and blown away. If you stick your nose into the cup and breathe in the fat green smell of the tea leaves, it will probably bring to mind for you, as it did for me, the image of a man and a woman in straw hats, knee deep in a rice paddy, bent over their work as the sun sinks toward the mountains beyond them. And, there, at the bottom of the cup, the leaves are forming a tiny bridge, the one that sooner or later we're going to have to try to cross.