I was now officially having an emotional relationship with a Buddah head. I’d convinced myself that the Buddah head was going to change things for me. Going to slow things down for starters—because life had been moving way too fast. ~Susan Conley, The Foremost Good Fortune
We have several Buddah figures in and around our home and it’s funny how, just like author Susan Conley, we have attached meaning and importance to them. Our Buddahs are big and small, made of clay or metal or wood, and live both indoors and out.
One of our Buddahs lives on the back deck during the summer, and sits serenely in the shade under a scrub pine. He is about three feet tall and is made of polished metal. We have smaller Buddahs placed around my desk. One is about 8 inches tall, is hand carved and has the face of a cat. Then there’s a tiny 2-inch Buddah I bought at the bus terminal in New York City. The woman who sold it told me it was “a money Buddah” and would bring me financial good luck.
But the Buddah I appreciate most is the one who lives outdoors the entire year. He is a little over a foot tall and sits on a stone bench in our front yard, with his legs folded over each other in the “heroic” posture. (That’s him in the picture above.) For all of his calmness, he has had his share of mishaps in the three or so years we’ve had him.
Once, during a vicious wind and rain storm, a massive branch from a tall oak snapped and landed on the stone bench where he sits. It toppled and cracked the bench top, propelling my Buddah five feet from his perch. He emerged mostly unscathed, except for a few cracks by his feet.
Every few months he comes up missing, though he doesn’t go far. A mischievous squirrel (or maybe a raccoon) knocks him off his bench. I imagine my Buddah silently taunting the squirrel to slow down, and annoyed, it pushes him over the edge. I also imagine the squirrel is surprised the next day when he finds the Buddah back in his regular spot.
One day I tried to wash him—which turned out to be an ill-conceived idea. You would not know it from his picture, but he used to be the color of concrete, a lightly mottled grey. But after a few patches of moss had begun to grow on him, I got a bristled brush and gave him a good scrubbing. Only, instead of restoring him to his original color, he mysteriously turned as black as night. He did not want to be washed, so I have let him be ever since.
I visit my Buddah on a regular basis. He speaks to me telepathically, usually transmitting the same three words, all beginning with the letter “p”: Peace. Patience. Prosperity. I nod my head in approval and go about my day.
We will be moving soon, and my Buddah will be coming with us. I’ll find an appropriate place in the new yard for him. I believe he is okay with moving, seeing life from a new perspective, but there is one caveat: I am never to try and wash him again.
This post originally appeared on Elephant Journal, January 14, 2011.