There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Friday, July 11, 2008

Missed but not forgotten

The No. 82 bus made the turn from Eastern to Edison and lumbered east on its way to American River College. Every half-hour to ARC; every half-hour to Sacramento State and the 65th Street light rail station. I wasn't a big fan of buses when the wife and I purchased our house in 2003. But even then I realized that the noise of bus traffic would be outweighed by the convenience of regular service.

This morning I was walking the dog. Well, I was waiting for the dog. She's a sniffer, a Shepard mix with a canine journalist's obsession with reading the neighborhood news. More than half the time spent walking is really just standing.

As the bus approached I looked up to see who was driving. Nearly all of the drivers I've meet have been nice people, courteous and conscientious. But a few are particularly fun to ride with and one in particular stands out.

He's a jolly fellow, big. His thick white hair and gray beard -- without a moustache -- remind me of old sea captains. Perhaps in another life.

I remind him of Martin Mull for some reason. I discussed that here. He's also been the topic of other posts. For instance, this:

"Rain tomorrow," greeted the bus driver.

"Thanks," I said. " Guess I'll have to wear a coat."

It was chilly, and my shirt jacket wasn't doing its job. I welcomed the warmth of the bus as I settled into a seat and took out my book.

As we continued down the route, the driver greeted each regular rider with his weather forecast. More than one rider didn't know how to return his kindness, giving him a double-take before moving on into the bus.
Before I could make out who was driving the approaching bus I could see both hands waving.

I waved back and smiled.

As the bus reached me, the driver saluted and then waived again as he continued on his way.

Like I said, I miss my regular commute. I didn't go anywhere yesterday except the short car trip to take the wife to her stop.

When I finished walking the dog, I turned my attention to my morning prayers. Since 1989, I've been a follower of the Japanese Buddhist sect founded by Nichiren. At least I've got plenty of time right now to fulfill my morning and evening obligations.

The altar in the living room includes a book with "Daily Wisdom" from the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. For today, July 11, it says:
Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside ourselves; both lie only within one's own heart. Awakened to this truth, one is called a Buddha; deluded about it, one is called an ordinary person. The Lotus Sutra reveals this truth, and one who embraces the Lotus Sutra will realize that hell is itself the Land of Tranquil Light.
Yesterday was a bad day.

Today is better.

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