Monday, October 3, 2016

"Team Work Makes The Dream Work"

That's what the Alpine Hotshots said.

The fire has lay down for now. It never came. Diego asked, "Are flames necessary for the fire to come?"

We spent 65 days preparing for fire. It's a blur. Night drills, pumps breaking down, at least 15,000 feet of hose strung through Tassjara from the suburbs to the flats, red alerts, stand downs, sleeping with walkie talkies, and now it's "over."

The fire still burns outside Tassajara, sometime just two miles away. I saw it up close on the road, beautiful, like my first trip to space mountain when I was 5 years old. But it's getting colder and the relative humidity keeps getting higher.

It was a great experience to live in a type 1 incident for over two months. We trained with various engine crews and the Alpine Hotshots from Colorado, a sweet bunch of idyllic fire fighters who were kind and helped cook, clean bathrooms, and wash dishes. We also watched movies together, all of them and all of us, camped out in the retreat hall like big slumber party. Also, they said I could go out and work with them next year to keep up my fire training and get more experience. I think that's a good idea- doesn't seem like Tassajara or fire are going anyplace anytime soon.

So, I'm trading my yellow nomex for my black robes again. It's not so easy. Life at zen center inspires a whole hearted effort over and over again- farmer, monk, cook, fire monk- and I always forget that there's the time to let it go. I say inspired, but personally, I feel it's required. I wouldn't make it through the various practice positions without throwing myself into them. But just like farming, doing the whole fire thing struck an affinity within that has me yearing for a Mcloud and some ash falling from the sky.

But Tassajara is moving on. Practice period starts in 12 days. My robes need mending and bowls need cleaning. My priest robe needs sewing. This mind needs some reminders- what am I doing with my life again? And my baby and wife are coming home after being away for a long time.

Fire season was great. I can feel my clinging. Time to let it go, just like in the spring, I'll have to let practice period go.

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