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Chop Wood, Carry Water
Zaid Hassan, 3 Nov 08
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“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." – Zen saying

Oxford, Tuesday, November 4, 2008:

Tomorrow we will be changed. Today we are who we are. It is rare to know the moment of change. It is rare to know that tomorrow we will awaken to altered landscapes, to altered psyches. It is rare to know this moment. While many, many words have been penned about the landscape on the other side of the event horizon, I feel a need to linger here for a few more moments, for just a little while longer. My feet drag ever so slightly, scuffing the ground. As I sit here, far away, on the other side of the ocean, in my little cottage in Oxford, I feel the strange sweetness of this moment, this little moment that will be lost and swept away in the roaring tides of what is to come. It’s a fleeting, perhaps sentimental, moment but it speaks to me.

It tells me to remember that while things will change beyond our wildest imaginings, some things are still certain, some things will not change. While some will wake to joy, others will wake to tears. While the events to come may blow our minds, while we may suffer, while the winds are going to blow loud and strong…some things will remain, constant. Our work will not get any easier. The promise of these moments to come is inevitably the promise of more work, of a renewed effort, no matter what happens, of the work that so many of us have already given our most sacred labour to. Perhaps others will join us; perhaps the weight in our hearts will lighten, perhaps not.

Will we continue to work? What will drive us? What will we wake to in the morning? How will we feel? Who will we be? All these questions remain to be answered but one thing is certain, the work will remain. As we enter into the space of excitement, of this staggering, overwhelming, vertiginous sense of change, I would like to wave this moment goodbye, to send it off gently and to thank its voice, with its tiny, hard wisdom.

See you on the other side.

Photo credit: flickr/Dru, Creative Commons license.

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Right on Zaid .. in fact, whatever happens these next few hours, we need to work harder and smarter ... Cheers!! Chris

Posted by: chris grant on 4 Nov 08

Never in my 45 years have I seen so much hope expressed worldwide following an election. It's wonderful. It surely creates the feeling of being a world community.

Thanks Zaid for your elequent words.

Posted by: Craig Pepper on 7 Nov 08

You expressed so beautifully what I have been feeling during these past weeks; that feeling of something very big coming and a sentimentality, almost a mourning for this moment. Now I don't have to mourn any more. Thank you.


Posted by: Julie Lindahl on 7 Nov 08

Thank you for this post, it's what i've been thinking & trying to say to people but put much more eloquently ;).

--Kat on the other side (literally & figuratively)

Posted by: Kat on 7 Nov 08

Chop wood, Carry water brings warmth and substinence to our confusing times...Thank you for the thoughts.....

Robert W. Gately
Castle Hot Springs, AZ

Posted by: Robert W. Gately on 8 Nov 08

Chop wood, Carry water brings warmth and substinence to our confusing times...Thank you for the thought

Posted by: Robert W. Gately on 8 Nov 08

Lovely Zaid.
Thank you!

I have been listening with delight to "It's a new Day" by

Thanks for the reminder that even in this new day the work continues.

Sera Thompson
Halifax, NS Canada

Posted by: Sera Thompson on 16 Nov 08



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