Monday, July 21, 2008

An Unexpected Adventure - July 18, 2008

I was all set to go to the prison program tonight (Friday the 18th), or at least I thought I was. Getsushin came to pick me up at 5:30, and I got into her car. She was talking about how she didn't have to go pick up Kisei tonight, as Kisei would go separately, which makes it a lot easier for us, so we had plenty of time. I noticed that Getsushin's bag was at my feet, as usual, and suddenly realized I didn't have my rakusu. We were barely started, so we circled around the block and I got my rakusu.

Drove to Wilsonville, got to the prison parking lot, and as we were getting out of the car and I was preparing to go in, suddenly realized I didn't have my driver's license. I don't have a separate ID badge yet, so need the driver's license, which they hold while they give me a visitor's badge when I go in. But without the driver's license, I can't go in at all.

I had heard of this happening with others, and there is nothing to do but to wait outside (or find another way to go home). It was at least a beautiful evening, so I decided to take a walk and see how I could occupy myself for 3 hours while I waited for them.

So walk I did. I've been a little confused about the streets from the freeway to the prison, so figured walking them would get that more clear to me. I walked almost all the way to the freeway, just looking at the sights, hearing the birds, enjoying the sunshine. It was slightly warm for walking, but not bad at all. It was a little strange to be walking along the sidewalk in an area I don't know all that well, with no identification, no money, only glasses and keys on me. I make it a practice not to take much when I go to the prison, because you can't take much in (the keys go into a locker with the others -- no keys in prison), and it just seems easier not to have all that stuff to keep track of. So there I was, feeling a little like a wandering monk (though I didn't have a begging bowl either -- fortunately I wasn't hungry!).

When I got almost to the freeway, I found a kind of industrial park area that I turned in to. Since it was Friday evening, there was no one around, and it was all nicely landscaped and such, so I found a place to sit for a while in the shade. After a while got up and walked further around the area, and found another place to sit, pretty much at the side of the freeway. Sat there for another half hour.

Got up and walked a little more and saw a large rhododendron bush that had been in bloom not all that long ago -- the blossoms were faded but you could still see they were a deep red color. So I started deadheading. Spent at least a half hour on that, and didn't get the bush done -- it may have been more than one bush, but if so it was all the same kind and color of blossom. It was right by the exit, but separated from the freeway of course by a fence. I watched the time to make sure I would get back in time, and finally decided I'd better get back, because I wasn't sure how long it would take me.

As it happened, I got back to the parking lot pretty early. So I sat at the top of this grassy hill for a little while until the sun went down. Now the breeze was feeling chilly. So I got back up and decided to walk around the parking lot, which I did. Eventually walked along a sidewalk over to see the Minimum side (we visit in Medium, but I will go over to Minimum probably in the fall to start a new group).

As I walked, I saw that there was a Corrections Officer ahead of me having a smoke. I walked up to her, and she asked if she could help me. I explained my situation and that it was warmer to walk than to sit still. She told me that technically without ID, I shouldn't really be on the premises at all, and some would ask me to leave. I shrugged and said if need be, I could wait by the front gate, but that my friends should be coming out soon. We commiserated a little about how easy it is to leave one's ID where it doesn't belong. At least I picked a nice night for this one. She seemed fairly easygoing, and allowed me to walk back to the parking lot.

I went back to Getsushin's car and waited there for the last 15 minutes before she and Kisei finally came out. Kisei gave me a hug and noticed my ears were cold. I got back into Getsushin's car, and did my best to make sure I got everything out when I got back home. Not the way I expected to spend this evening at all. Still, had enjoyable aspects to it.


Also, just so you know, I will be on retreat this coming week (starting today - Monday, July 21) out at the monastery and therefore unavailable for a while.