Friday, September 30, 2005

As dusk settles we finish burying Sando up hill from brook where Ragged begins to climb.

We experience again -- after hours digging dirt, rock, and root -- why a farmer many years ago named the pre-parceled land "Rocky Hill Farm."

May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world.

(from The Buddha's Words on Kindness, Metta Sutta)

By bridge, up hill, encircled by stones -- one we've cherished is under single lantern vigil candle.

Tomorrow we'll witness two other beings into their marriage at Ogunquit. She and he will pronounce themselves willing to dwell in the thin place, the middle place where past and future change hands, a place that is beyond separation/before union -- in other words, where one and one is not two, nor is one and Then what is it?

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

(from the Beatitudes,Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5)

Marriage is what is taking place.

"What is" might be what marriage has always longed to be. For something, or two people, to be "what is" means to embody the manifestation which is each moment, each event. Not two, not one -- merely whole sight -- the pronounced willingness to enter into and pass through the reality of the exquisite ordinariness of life with one another.

What is taking place between one another?

Life itself!

With one another -- dwelling in the sacred ordinary, stepping through its midst with kindness and love -- each is happy, safe, and free from fear.

Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

(from The Buddha's Words on Kindness, Metta Sutta)

Goodbye Sando!

Hello Renee and Patrick!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

After long, slow morning mountain walk we stop at meditation cabin. Sando goes in, lays down, and stays all day.

Charlotte visits, bringing her flowers. Saskia sits with her as afternoon dims with wind and rain. I converse with root and rock digging into mountain for resting place.

At 5:30pm Dr Jim arrives.

In Robert Pirsig's novel, Lila, an Indian is asked the question, "What kind of dog is that?"
His response came slowly and thoughtfully, "That's a good dog". (Ch 32)

Sando, our good dog, quietly, and with tired grace, dies.

After long silent vigil by Cesco, Saskia, and I, Sando's body remains for tonight in the chapel with the archangels, under the quiet watchfulness of mother/child Icon, sitting Buddha, standing Francis, framed Dogen, and wooden cross radiating circles of welcome.

We already miss her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

We took the day to spend quietly at hermitage with Sando. There was no conversation at bookshop this evening.

We four walked easily together the mountain early. We thought of going in to the shop.

Instead we cleared fell wood out from mostly dry brook. The incursion happened last winter. There was a large tree trunk spanning what we call Sando's pool up beyond crossing footbridge. Recently the tree had split and angled in brook. (Sando walks up to where we work pulling twigs and leaves, ambles into concave collection of water from recent rain, and drinks.)

We sit on bench. She's on ground near wooden bridge built two summers ago at a retreat workday. Behind us pickaxe and spade lean against tree. Turned earth and torn root show richer shade of brown near graves of Jitai, Koto, and Mini.

Back of barn and house we tear through heavy growth over septic, cut fledgling maples and rip out thorny stalks. We get out extension ladder. I climb high to saw limbs that reach over barn. We want to eliminate rubbing edge of leaf and branch on roofing asphalt and siding shingle. The highest branch would not let go. Holding ladder with left arm through rungs and wrapped around tree, right arm extends high and saws repeatedly with bowsaw. Tough limb hangs by willpower.

Blade un-seizes for final few thrusts overhead. Rest. Saw. Rest. Saw. Saskia gathers what has made it to ground successfully. Two dogs peek around barn, wander, settle to ground themselves. Sando barks with weakened voice at black lab next door charging down hill from neighbor's house. Who will protect us next time?

We finish. Get water to drink. Take leash. Walk up back past pickaxe, spade, bench, bridge, brook-pool, hillside climb, worn path to T-bar, vacant snowbowl. Cross back over ball field. Walk road to dooryard and house.

A brief stop in cabin. Sit a spell. Tomorrow is feast of archangels Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael.

Gabriel seems to be composed of the Hebrew words, gebher: man, and 'el: God. It means, therefore, "Man of God", or, "Strength of God."
Michael from the Hebrew Mikha'el, meaning: "Who is as God"?
Raphael, from the Hebrew rapha': to heal, and 'el: God, means "God heals."

The vet said Saskia should call him in the morning. If Saskia and Sando say so, he'd come out to house.

We've had a good day together.

One day.

A lifetime.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

We have come here to see what is taking place.

Do we see what is taking place?

In the still night by the vacant window,
Wrapped in monk's robe I sit in meditation.
Navel and nostrils lines up straight;
Ears paired to the slope of the shoulders.
Window whitens -- the moon comes up;
Rain's stopped, but drops go on dripping.
Wonderful -- the moon of this moment,
Distant, vast.

- Ryokan (1758-1831)

The chanting of Heart Sutra is wonderfully of a piece tonight. Candlelight in cabin and at table lights up self. When we realize self, we realize nothing excluded. One person, one thing awakens, everywhere, everyone, and everything is awake.

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." (Aldo Leopold, American ecologist, 1887-1948)

War ends here. Community begins here.

Hands together, bowing deeply -- here.

Here wonderful work done by what is taking place.

This is what we come to see.