How can people be like rivers? Long ago in Kyoto, Japan, a man named Chomei lived in a spacious house.
Like the river he lived beside, Chomei knew neither his dwelling not his own life would last forever.
He was trying to be a great poet and he won big awards but he did not feel happy yet.


One day a giant whirlwind swallowed up his house, dumping all the pieces around his yard.
Chomei salvaged the parts that were not broken and he threw them in the river, and washed them down to a new place, where he built a medium house of them.

He still wasn’t happy.
One day an earthquake struck the city of Kyoto and much of Chomei’s house fell down again.

Again he salvaged the remaining parts, threw them in the river, and reassembled them downstream into a small house.

Then there was a big fire that came to his house.
Chomei saved remaining parts of his house by washing them down stream, as he had before.

At last, he built his final home, which he called Hojoki, ten by ten hut.
There he was able to find happiness, and he wrote a beautiful poem, a masterpiece of

Japanese literature, also called Hojoki. People can be strong like rivers.

Sometimes it helps to identify with something in nature, like a stream or a house. People are resilient like Hojoki, the ten by ten hut that Chomei made.

We can sit next to a waterway, throw sticks in, and watch them race slowly along.

It is okay to think of ourselves as pieces of the Earth for a while.
We are the water and the bamboo, a type of plant that some Japanese huts are made of.

We can dream while we wake.

We might build an actual house someday.

We might learn the wisdom of simplifying our needs. We can be poets of these days.

We can tell stories that touch generations.