Thursday, April 19, 2012

Turning and Tilthing

Farmer monk

salt of Dogen's Zen

coyote howling heart

frog leaping mind

cut by scythe

turn by spade

rust with the tractor

and trading skin for dirt

become earth again

Eat fast, shit fast,sleep fast. The farm is a good ways from the zendo, kitchen, and restroom. Time is a little more precious and your gear needs to be good to go by the time work meeting is over. Boots and new socks need to be accessible. Rain gear should be on your back or within reach. Hands should be ready to push, pull, lift, tear, and the non dominant hand needs to catch up. Train the wild elephant!

Yesterday, in clear weather, we planted a Bok Choy bed. In about 3 weeks, We'll turn it over and plant it again. Before this, we built on a compost mound- 200 gallons of food, some rotting, some from yesterday, collected from Green Gulch and City Center. First, straw- then food, then green cover crop. Each layer spreads out like lasagna- and you get to see what you ate- bright purple beets, gritty yellow polenta, creamy oatmeal, swamp green chard soup- and hey-City Center sure does get a lot of bananas! Then wash the buckets- 50 of them- and get them back to the kitchens.

Our crew is pure heart- just wonderful people headed in who knows how many directions-and it's inspiring to remember there are people like that out in the world who want to grow food, and maybe practice Zen (formally). There might be people like that inside of everyone.

About 3 months into my work here at Green Gulch and it's a dream. Maybe I found the thing I'm supposed to be doing, maybe I think this because there is no hesitation in my body, even when my mind is rebelling (which is about 3 out of 5 times I'm given an order).

Wind on the face, sunshine and water- what could be better?


  1. What is the opposite of salt?

  2. It seems like growing food really does bring you closer to the earth.

  3. "When Linji was at the assembly of Huangbo, he planted cedar and pine trees with Huangbo. Huangbo asked him, "Why are we planting so many trees deep in the mountain?
    Linji said, "First, for the landscape around the monastery. Second, as a landmark for later generations." Then he hit the ground twice with his hoe.
    Huangbo held up his staff and said, "That's why I have just given you thirty blows." Linji heaved a deep sigh. Huangbo said, "When you get my teaching, it will flourish in the world."

    From Dogen's Continuous Practice.

    May all things, including fried fish eyeballs, enlighten you.