Deer Park, Day Twenty-Eight: Homeward Bound (Part 1)
(written on Friday February 7th)
I’m currently sitting by a large window with the sun streaming in at LAX, the Los Angeles airport. My flight leaves in about an hour. I will arrive back home in Montana around midnight, after a short layover in Seattle. My cousin, who lives in LA, picked me up from Deer Park and dropped me off at the airport early in order to make it to work at 3:00. With my love of airports and flying I was looking forward to the extra time here at LAX.
This morning I woke up around 3:30am. I read for a bit, got dressed, and then packed my bag. It was very dark this morning when I climbed the steps to the meditation hall. The stars and moon were covered over by clouds from the overnight rain. The ground was moist with the much-needed moisture and when our sitting was over and the sun was up I took great pleasure in seeing the raindrops hanging on every leaf and flower petal. Llora and I did some Qi Gong together before breakfast and then at 8:45am we had a work meeting. These meetings start with singing and are a time for announcements to be made. I spoke of my departure and offered my deep gratitude and joy for having had the opportunity to practice with the community at Deer Park. As is custom with those leaving one of the sisters asked if I had a song request and I asked for the song Dear Friends. The lyrics to Dear Friends: Dear friends, dear friends, let me tell you how I feel, you have given me such treasures, I love you so.
Our working meditation was to help the sisters clean out Thay’s hut, in preparation for it to be demolished next month. As I knew my cousin wouldn’t be arriving until between 11:00-12:00 I was happy to offer help. I helped Sister Abbess load up the sisters’ golf cart with boxes and other items and then unload them into storage areas. To be inside of Thay’s bedroom and his attendant’s room cleaning out items and moving furniture felt both special and also a little disrespectful in a way. It felt strange to be inside of his hut with my shoes on and simply clearing house. But it was also a wonderful way to depart from my time at Deer Park.
Around 10:30am Sister Abbess invited me to go and rest to prepare for my departure so I took my leave from the group and went to get my things. I gave Llora a hug and tears came to my eyes – I will miss my new friend. She and I exchanged hand-written notes and we have each other’s contact information. I hope that we will keep in touch.
Knowing my cousin might try calling to tell me of her arrival time I went to the parking lot with my small rolling suitcase and sleeping bag in order to get cell reception and wait for her. I walked up to the dharma hall to collect a few radiantly beautiful green leaves from one of the Bodhi trees and then did some walking meditation around the parking lot. I sang practice songs and walked for quite a while and enjoyed my steps and my breathing as I prepared to leave. It was so lovely to walk in the sun and have the time to settle into myself. Just as my cousin pulled up, a few minutes after noon, the brothers’ came through the parking lot on their walking meditation. Seeing them and feeling their lovely presence was a nice way to depart.