I have a blood blister on my callus on my hand! I don't know how it happened. I don't know how that even happens. Spring is here and the cover crop is nose high. We're scything it in and turning it under. We already have about 12 beds of baby lettuce planted. Nine new apprentices show up today. I start my third season on this farm, in this long valley that opens up to the big lagoon. The bobcats are out; I've seen two. The newts are hunkering down for a dry summer. Coyotes howl, owls call out in the morning. On our way to the Zendo, my teacher calls out to them, startling me with her young energy in the dark and misty 4am fog.
We closed the practice period yesterday after a seven day sesshin. We shouted OM HOMAGE SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA over and over and over as our sangha bathed the world honored one on his birthday. Precocious little statue of a boy in his underpants pointing to the heaven and to the earth after taking 6 silver steps. Or was it 7? Or did he just start scrubbing the 6 tusked white elephant after he fell cleanly out of his mother's side?
There was a lot of Zazen this winter. Period after period, letting the shoulder blades melt down my back, letting my face fall like a baby's face. Feeling the body hang like a coat on a hanger, feeling the mind undulate like a white sheet over a ghost. We emerge from our old barn zendo fresh faced, a little skinny, and ready to get our hands in the dirt. The days get longer and I can barely sleep with so much excitement.
And I don't know about reincarnation or rebirth, but I know if I have the choice when my time comes, I will choose this pivotal human form again and again. I'll pick up and carry the vows for as long as I can and weather the seasons of this saha world.