June 6 – Two Monkeys Sleeping – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Tenderness does not choose its own uses. It goes out to everything equally.” Jane Hirshfield

We wandered into a corner of the Central Park Zoo, and there, despite the dozens of tourists pointing and tapping the glass, two moneys were squatting on a perch of stone. To our surprise, they were both in deep sleep, their dark heads bowed to each other, their small frames limp.

What was amazing was that their small delicate hands were touching, their monkey fingers leaning into each other. It was clear that it was this small sustained touch that allowed them to sleep. As long as they were touching, they could let go.

I envied their trust and simplicity. There was none of the human pretence of independence. They clearly needed each other to experience peace. One stirred but didn’t wake, and the other, in sleep, kept their fingers touching. How deeply rewarding the life of touch. Each was drifting inwardly, dreaming whatever monkeys dream.

They looked like ancient travellers praying inside a place of rest made possible because they dared to stay connected. It was one of the most tender and humbling moments I have ever seen. Two aging monkeys weaving fingertips, as if their touch alone keep them from oblivion.

I pray for the courage to be as simple in asking for what I need to be.

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