Deer Park, Day Twenty-Four
(written on Monday February 3rd)
Last night when Sister Harmony came to visit us all of the leftovers we had from the day before wound up coming back into the cabin, along with the tea and cushions. So it was like a second night of festive visiting. It was nice to have an informal time to sit down with one of the sisters. Five of the six of us laywomen were there and it was a nice time for all of us to gather together as well. One lay friend left after dinner tonight, who had been here for the last 6-weeks, so we’re now down to five of us who are staying here. There won’t be another arrival day until Friday so our numbers are expected to remain as they are now are for the rest of my time here.
Today Llora and I planned to hike up the fire road to the ridge trail and loop around the monastery. We left after breakfast around 9:30am and packed a lunch to bring with us, knowing we’d be gone for a few hours. Another lay friend, along with her mom who is visiting for the week, asked to join us on our hike so they came along as well. We went up the way that goes past the rocks overlooking the ocean by the abandoned homestead and then continued on down the trail. There were periods all four of us were together walking but mostly we were paired off separately along the trail and came together for resting breaks.
There are many trails all weaving together and alongside one another through the surrounding mountains, many of which are on fire roads and well maintained. As Llora and I were both new to navigating the trail system we had to make some calculated guesses when a fork in the road appeared. The paths were all well marked so I was confident that even if we made a wrong turn we wouldn’t be lost – it would eventually take us somewhere.
We wound up being gone a little over five hours by the time we made it back to our little home hamlet. It was a long and good adventure. And after not having seen our two hiking partners for some time we wound up reuniting with them on the last leg of our journey, which seemed a little miraculous considering we took side trails and other unknown turns on the way. My feet were quite sore by the time we were finished and I laid down when I got to my cabin and soon fell right to sleep. The luxury of being able to rest when the body needs to rest is one I so very greatly appreciate. Listening to the needs of the body is an important practice.
We had dinner at our usual 5:30pm time and then our lay friend Sue left, leaving us the rest of the treats she had made for our visiting day over the weekend. She made brownies and peanut brittle, which I have been greatly enjoying. I even got her peanut brittle recipe and look forward to making it for my sangha when I get back home. My evening since then has included talking with my husband on the phone, taking a wonderfully hot shower, and writing. My rare mysterious and fleeting internet connection suddenly appeared so I was also able to do some emailing and touch base with some of my friends.
This morning on the white board in the dining hall I found out that in addition to today, both Tuesday and Wednesday will also be lazy days. After all of the festivities around TET the monastery will take a few days of rest. I look forward to the rest of my stay here this week and feel as though the transition of having these un-structured days before I leave on Friday is good timing.
After some sitting meditation I will be off to bed here shortly. Since I still have the guitar on loan from the brothers’ hamlet in my cabin I’ve been singing the love song I wrote to my husband at night before I go to sleep. I sing it to him.