Deer Park, Day Sixteen
(written on Sunday January 26th)
Today’s day of mindfulness was attended by around 50 or 60 people. I was expecting more with TET just around the corner. Due to the holiday there will not be a day of mindfulness this coming Thursday or Sunday. But we will be expecting lots of people coming to celebrate starting on New Year’s Eve on Thursday and going through until Sunday.
One of the sisters led our outdoor walking meditation this morning to start off the day of mindfulness at 9:00am. We tend to take a different path every day and today she led us up to the full moon viewing deck, which sits beneath the large stupa. There are a few ways to get there and she took us all meandering through the brush on a narrow trail. On our way back down from the deck we continued on another trail that led us into a camping area off the main road. With a mix of ages and abilities of the people attending the day of mindfulness I had some concern for certain folks on our wilderness hike. The way up to the deck was steep and rocky and the way down was slippery with loose dry dirt. At one point on the way down our single file line came to a halt for a few minutes and once we got moving it didn’t take me long to understand why. Around a corner I suddenly saw a large rope hanging down along our path. My friend Llora was behind me and when we caught sight of it we both began to laugh quietly. What were we in for, we both wondered? I pictured us having to Tarzan it down a cliff face and I imagined that the sister leading the way had scaled the steep terrain with grace and ease. It turned out that the rope served as a handhold to help traverse a few really steep steps. We all made it down safely but I noticed I felt that it was unfair not to have taken into account the older attendees and those with trouble walking, or at the least have announced the type of hike we were embarking on so people would know what they were getting into.