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Lions Roar : March 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2011 71 I recently had my palm read, for a lark. It was part of an event at a boutique hotel—wine, cheese, and a palm reader. the woman seemed pleasant enough, maybe early forties, with black curly hair, long red skirt, leather jacket over a purple blouse, and an egyptian ankh dangling from her neck on a black silk rope. We made small talk as she took my hand and concentrated on my palm, lightly pushing it with a thin finger. then she said some- thing a little odd: “you have a square in the mount of mercury. you will lead and have led an exciting life shadowed by fatality wherever you have been and will go.” “couldn’t I get a slightly cheerier reading?” I quipped, and she laughed. I pretended I had to meet someone and was late, and left. I don’t need someone to tell me that life involves fatality. I’m familiar with that little Buddhist adage on why we are mortal: “the cause of death is birth.” Besides, as a crime reporter, death is part of my business. For many, the coming of spring is symbolic of birth, rebirth, vitality. For me, it’s a reminder that a lot of people are going to start dying, and that I’ll be busy. people are a little less active in the fall and winter—the cold slows them down, cools down tempers, bodies don’t rot quickly, the odor doesn’t give away their secrets. But in spring and sum- mer, what has been laying dormant begins to stink, and what’s killed rots quickly. temperatures and tempers rise, anger flares in sync with sunspots. hot tempers lead to fatal mistakes, impulsive murders, rapes, arsons, lethal assaults. hasty attempts to cover up crimes don’t go so well. the missing are uncovered and their deaths known much faster. as a reporter, I didn’t dread the summer. deaths make good Tokyo crime reporter Jake Adelstein stumbles into an unsettling shadowland when he investigates the mysterious deaths of a couple virtually no one can recall. Buddhas Without Connections photoByalFIegoodrIch,WWW.japanorama.co.uk