The farm is quiet; the sprouts of purple vetch have started to come up in the kitchen garden. 8 months have passed. One of the first jobs I did on the farm was take a scythe to some cover crop. Now it grows again.
Many new students have arrived. I've noticed some intense faces, some confused glances. Bows that look like karate chops. Tangaryo, the practice of all-day-no-bells-sitting, starts this morning. Tangaryo is an old practice, something we do in order to enter the temple. I imagine us transformed by this evening, one way or another.
I go into this practice period a little heavy hearted; I'll miss harvesting kale, walking down those long rows under the sun. And I have no idea if I'll work on the farm next year. I also haven't heard from my teacher, and I hope he's doing well, or more honestly, that we're doing well. No building up or tearing down here- just raw observation. Alive or dead? We will not say.
As I sit here, wearing my robes for the first time in months is warming me up. Zazen has been dirty the last couple of months. We rush from the fields into the zendo. I was hardly clean with our work load. To wear flowing and layered robes is to wear a house, foundation, framing, and roof. Sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold, but inescapable.
Practice period asks a couple things: 5 periods of Zazen everyday, Sesshin, Study hall, 3 classes, Oryioki meals, no leaving the temple, no phone calls, and no computer. So, this will be it for awhile. I'll have a short break in December, then off to Tassajara.
Believe it or not, this blog is hard to let go of! I think of it as something I've built and now I'll leave it for a couple months. How do I turn the water off, empty the fridge, and weather strip the windows? This old poem, from last practice period, will have to do: