Today is the first anniversary of the death of my cat Maggie, constant companion for 19 years. That day, I was writing my final column for The Big Click, and, of course, Maggie became part of it:
NOTHING LASTS: A NOIR MANDALA
what's now a grey stain
on the black fabric of the zafu
was a fluttering moth —
the Buddha's first precept:
do not kill
I had forgotten about the light in Glasgow. How dark it seems, even at the peak of daylight. That, and how the cold air seems to scrape your face, and how your glasses steam up when you go indoors after walking even a few blocks. I hadn’t forgotten how green it is, but I had forgotten how it feels to walk miles of urban parkway.
It’s been three decades since I wandered the abandoned railway tunnels. I tried to get in near Kelvinbridge, but, when I found it, it was blocked.
When I was a child, the walk from Raeberry Street along Garriochmill Road and down into Kelvingrove Park was called The Low Road. It was wild, broken, overgrown, and I used to pretend it was the African jungle and I was Tarzan. The River Kelvin was polluted and dead.
Now the park is well-kept, and the river has friends…
And there are so many fish in the water that you need a permit to catch them.
The ghosts of the old mill are still around:
More than 40 years ago, I feared this tunnel under a bridge.
As I walked under it, I imagined iron railings dropping at each end, locking me in forever.
This is what I saw shortly after I walked through the tunnel:
It's good to be back.
I gave this talk at The Sitting Frog Zen Center in Phoenix, AZ, a few years ago.
In celebration of my move back to Glasgow after 22 years away, my first novel, Of Darkness and Light, which was written and set there 29 years ago, is free this week on Amazon Kindle.
It was published by Bloomsbury a few weeks before Christmas in 1989, and I gave a copy to my then-girlfriend as a Christmas present. She spent Christmas at her parents' place, and her mother asked if she could read my book.
"I don't think you'd like it, Mum. It's not your kind of thing..."
"Don't be daft," her mother said, and took the book with her when she went to bed.
In the morning, she handed her daughter the book without a word.
"Well, Mum? Did you read it?"
"Aye, I did."
"Well, what did you think?"
"The boy looks normal."