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It was raining, again, and time for her evening meditation. She was late getting started, and fully aware of the irony in stressing out about her meditative ritual. But it is the ritual itself that she needed, that grounded her, that would get her through this, and she couldn't bare to skip a step.

The incense assaulted her senses as soon as she opened the box. Regaining her focus, she selected a stick from the uniform pack. "This one," she thought, as the palm of her right hand slightly tingled when she touched it.

Snow In Kyoto, her favorite incense. She liked the paradox of using fire to release the scent of snow. She smiled, slightly, as she blew out the flame. She smiled again, fully, as the smoke transformed the concentrated resin of the incense into a delicate, upward floating perfume. She breathed in the infinite emptiness of the heavens, the whispering cold. The scent of snow.

"There is something exotic to this scent of crafted emptiness," she thought, like the olfactory premonition she would get in winter before the first snowfall.

She grabbed the persimmon colored floor pillow he had given her before he left.

"Think of me," he said, "Even when you're thinking of nothing at all."

She smiled, remembering his attempt to be witty. He tried too hard on purpose, knowing it would make her laugh. But she couldn't help but notice that in his playful mocking of guru wisdom he would always get it right. You have to understand something in order to make fun of it effectively, after all.

She began to caress the gold threaded pattern on the pillow. Her chest quickly filled with melancholy pangs, with deep longing.

Sigh.

She hugged the pillow and the tears began to fall. She went with them, falling to her knees, holding the pillow to her chest. She buried her head in the pillow, not wanting to face his absence.

There was a mystical unity in the prosody of embodied emotion. It was these moments, in retrospect, that were the most poetic, the most Zen of all.

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