Chapter one of my latest book - part two

-The power of the World always works in circles,
and everything tries to be round....
The Sky is round,
and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball,
and so are the stars.
The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nest in circles for theirs is
the same religion as ours....
Even the seasons form
a great circle in their changing,
and always come back
again to where they were.
The life of a man is a circle
from childhood to childhood,
and so it is in everything
where power moves.
Black Elk - Sioux Holy Man









Walking the Circle

By
T. W. Black





A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.
Tao Te Ching
************************

Frank Hsu was a man that drew no particular attention from anyone. At five foot five with a weight of about 135 Lbs and short cropped black hair, he was nearly invisible. A quiet man that worked and paid his bills was a perfect blend into the busy city life. His building super could hardly remember what he looked like. Other than the neighbor in 4C with the heavy makeup and a perpetual cigarette in her mouth, nobody knew who lived in 4B.
He awoke at five thirty as he did every morning without the aid of an alarm clock. He placed his kettle on the boil and opened a small apothecary that held assorted bottles of roots, herbs and liquids. He cut a piece of root and placed it in a pestle along with herbs from two types of herb. He ground the trio into a powder and added it to his selection of tea leaves. Placing them in his teapot, he added the water and covered to steep. He withdrew three incense sticks and placed them upon an altar. He then took a small dish of water, some flowers and a small candle and placed them upon the altar as well. He poured his tea and returned to the altar and sat before it on a deep red pillow. The candle was placed and lit along with the incense and the flowers were arranged beside the stone dish of water. He sat and sipped his tea until he felt prepared to enter into his daily meditation.
With his meditation now complete, Frank slowly rose and relaxed his shoulders. He stood before a ten by twelve foot rug with an obvious circle worn into the outer portions of the rug. Like a big "O" perfectly pressed into the intricate spacing of colors and symbols. He began his third and the last portion of his morning ritual and began to walk the circle. First counterclockwise, and after several laps, clockwise. His hands moved as kites in the wind. His feet drew him along effortlessly, heel to toe, heel to toe. With the grace of rain on a mountain top, as it gathers depth and gains strength, and forms into a new mountain stream, Frank Hsu’s movement channeled the unseen, creating a force within him that only served to make him a part of all that is, the nameless, the Tao.

********

Nigel changed his pants and thought of how long a wait it would be before he could slip into Union Station and wash himself. Some days were difficult due to the many delays in the daily schedule. There were times he arrived believing that the station would be empty only to find the platform filled with nervous commuters waiting for their ride to work. Nigel felt the sun beginning to rise above the trees and warm his space under the bridge.
"Hey, asshole! Move that God Damned junket outta there!" yelled a big Swedish looking guy from beside a truck at the loading station. The strength of his voice startled Nigel and he looked to see who he was directing his anger at.
"Yeah! I don’t care if I’m late. I need to unload and be outta here! Move your ass and when I’m done you take all the time in the fricken world, for all I care," he screamed at another delivery driver already in the process of having his truck unloaded.
Nigel sat back and watched as Frank Hsu appeared to try and reason with the ill tempered driver. Nigel couldn’t hear any more of the exchange but could see the smaller of the two men trying to talk. He could see from the Hsu’s gestures he was adamantly resolved to remain unloading his until he was finished.
Nigel felt himself flinch as the bigger man swung his fist and tried to express his full fury with one wide swing. Hsu stepped back with his hands at his sides and looked towards his opponent seemingly unfazed. Nigel walked down the bridge embankment to have a better view.
The big blonde walked towards the direction of Hsu and swung once more, only to have Hsu roll back, toe to heel and out of the reach of the man’s enormous fists. Hsu then rolled forward, heel to toe and circled towards the blondes left.
As the larger opponent looked to size up his challenge, Nigel saw the smaller man step forward and suddenly change his direction to the man’s right. He moved forward and tagged the Swede once in each ear and quickly stepped back. Stunned, the Swede lunged forward with a yell of anger and sought to grab his opponent to the ground, only to find his feet swept away. In the Swedes forward momentum he tumbled ungracefully to the ground. He rolled and crawled to face Hsu once more. Frank Hsu stepped forward and moved towards the other delivery driver. Nigel heard the crack all the way from where he stood and the blood began to gush from the Swedes nose. In the increasing light, Nigel saw that the smaller man was Asian.
Frank Hsu helped the man to the main office of the warehouse in search of first aid. He returned and picked up the Swedes manifest and tossed into the cab of his truck nearby. He then turned and looked at Nigel and walked a few paces closer.
Nigel tensed.
"I see you!" the Asian spoke in a loud but unstrained voice.
"I’m not hiding, if that’s what you think" returned a nervous Nigel.
"I see you!" he echoed. Hsu returned to his truck and found it ready. The Swede stood by all nicely bandaged waiting his turn.
*********
In the days that followed, Nigel began to experience what all new car owners do. Up until you buy the car you hardly notice your make and style. After the purchase everywhere you look you see the same make and model of the car you just purchased. At least once a day, if not five to ten times a day, Nigel would spot the Asian in every corner of the city at all times of the day. After a full day of exploring places in the city most inhabitants were ignorant of, Nigel turned and began his walk home.
"Fifteen minutes, even," he mused. "It has to be the cold," he thought to himself and cut through the fence from the far end of the street. "I used to make this walk in just eleven minutes."
"I see you!"
Nigel was startled and stopped in his tracks. His eyes adjusted and he saw the Asian standing below his home among the steel frame of the bridge.
"I see you," repeated Nigel. "I didn’t tell anyone about what I saw. I don’t want any trouble."
"I am not here to hurt you. I am here to thank you for what you did."
"But I did, didn’t do nothing," Nigel stuttered.
"I know you don’t remember me. It’s alright. I remember you. I see you. That in me, sees you!"
With that, the Asian turned and walked past Nigel to the private path through the fence and headed back down Main Street.

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