We walk a little and I show her the garden.
She likes the marigolds because they remind her of India.
We sit beneath the front yard maple tree.
There is so much I want to say to her but don't.
We sit quietly.
A dragonfly settles on the gourd plant.
A milk snake scales the concrete stairs and rests in the hot sun.
Desire is not possible without an object, she says at last.
It is the belief that something external - anything - can fulfill you.
But what is of the world leads only to sorrow and then - at last - to death.
It is a law, she says.
Her voice is thin but strong and brooks no dissent.
Often when she speaks she studies her hands, which are gnarled with age, but always open.
Desire leads to craving, craving to disappointment and disappointment to yet more desire.
She asks me if I see how I am trapped.
So long as you remain yoked to the cycles of desire, you are bound to sorrow and death, she says.
A goldfinch passes and she gives a delighted cry.
I wrestle with what to say.
She seems to fall asleep but just as I am about to rise and leave her to her rest she raises her head with a small smile.
She says, even though happiness may at times be had in this world it is your sole duty now to seek only that in which there is no sorrow whatsoever.