Sunday, August 06, 2006

At Seido's Farm

Written August 4.

At Seido's farm for a few days. We got up at 5am to sit in her zendo, known as the Empty Field Hermitage. It was shockingly cold, there being no heat, and two large doors open to the world. Fortunately, Seido had suggested I bring a blanket, which I wrapped around myself, but my head was cold. My ears and scalp just kept protesting, and I just kept telling them to relax. It was dark when we went out there -- I needed the flashlight graciously supplied by my host. My feet got wet and cold (I was just wearing sandals, which of course I took off before entering the Zendo), but I quickly tucked my feet under me as I sat, so they warmed up again.

I could hear trucks on the highway and gradually birds starting to sing. After a while, Seido did the kesa verse, and we turned around to chant. As part of the service she's put together, she read a page from the Mountains and Waters Sutra [by Master Eihei Dogen], and it had a very different feeling from when I've studied it before. We were looking out the door at mist on the hills, feeling the coast range beneath us, breathing cold air, listening to birds -- it was obvious that the mountains were alive and walking -- breathing and flying, giving birth to mountain children. It wasn't just words on a page to study -- it was right in front of us.

After service, we walked back to the house for breakfast, a pretty quick matter as they needed to get out to work. Bill looked at the temperature, and said it was 43 degrees outside. No wonder we were cold. I took my camera into the dawn light and took a bunch of pictures. I put my tennis shoes and socks on, and for a while my feet were warm and dry. But soon the heavy dew soaked through shoes and socks, and by the time I got back to the house, my feet were icy cold, as were my hands because I had them out with the camera. After I came back to the house, I put on a clean dry pair of socks, washed up, dressed, and settled myself on the bed in the sunlight.

I like the farm. The neat ordered rows of produce. Beautiful patterns -- order and chaos. I hope some of my pix come out.


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