Category Archives: Curiosities

Flooding

Let’s have a thought for all those impacted by the heavy rain over the past days in Scotland and Northern UK. The local river broke its banks and rushing water flowed over the playing fields just beside where I am staying. No danger of being inundated although the houses in the picture have been. Having fast flowing, uncontrolled, water close by brings the danger of flooding close to home. Thankfully the rain has stopped falling and the sun has come out!
river running over playing field
And a thought for the thousands of homes without electricity in Lancaster where the promise is that normal services will be resumed…on Tuesday.

Spot the Typo

Hello visitors. I’ve been fully engaged since getting back from Throssel with little opportunity to write a post, or even take photographs. So, to make a start again here is a picture I took a few weeks ago. The woman who made the sign only spotted it after she had posted it. With her wonderful sense of fun she decided to leave it and rely on visitors common sense.

Spot the typo
Spot the typo

A Delicate Transformation

nadar-baudelaire-1855
Baudelaire – 1855

The marvelous envelops
and saturates us
like the atmosphere;
but we fail to see it.

Baudelaire

The following quote is from the Parisian Gentleman a site I stumbled upon when searching on-line for instructions on how to do invisible mending. Their Journal post yesterday titled The Theory of How to Wear a Suit  caught my attention. At first it was the writing style  dry wit,  and fastidious attention to detail, that had me transfixed.   And somewhat bemused at entering into a totally alien realm of smart clothing, for men. Rev. Master Jiyu encouraged natural pride (in one’s appearance) and I do believe she would have given thumbs up to what is written here.

When we give the art of dressing well the attention it deserves, we move into the midst of an inner transformation, and this inner shift is a delicate transformation to manage.

It’s great to find a way to present ourselves well with clothing and finally (sartorially speaking) experience the feeling of self-approval. Yet, achieving self-approval poses a risk, as too much self-approval can convert into an ego explosion which annihilates the goal of ‘looking good’ as haughty and proud behavior can turn a person into a human atrocity.

Perhaps it’s better to say that understanding the art of dressing well opens the door to a more profound emotion created by beauty itself, and when we dress and leave our homes and feel surrounded within the vapor of beauty (created from somewhere within ourselves), we get a fleeting glimpse of the eternal.

As Baudelaire said, “all forms of beauty, like all possible phenomena, have something eternal and something transitory — an absolute and a particular element”. But perhaps even more striking is Baudelaire’s epiphany, “The marvelous envelops and saturates us like the atmosphere; but we fail to see it.”

And with all this time to recover from the cold I caught in Latvia I’ve been able to mend my treasured monastic, 100% wool coat, which had been attacked by a moth while my back was turned. Always good to be turned out sans moth holes! Thank you Rev. Master for your teaching.

Living On Alms

Not every day a hot air balloon comes close enough to see people in the passenger basket, dangling dangerously close to tree tops! Yesterday evening was such a day. Such excitement among the children. And the rest of us! Eventually the balloon made a dignified, all be it unscheduled, landing on the local playing field. Was it a flight or a voyage? It must have been scary what ever it was.

This evening a walk along the marshes at sun set. The tide was out the mud flats exposed. Not a place to venture out into. And stay alive.

Exactly a week ago I transferred across the Pennines from the monastery to stay in Cumbria again. This time to ‘flat-sit’ in South Lakeland close to Morecambe Bay. And close to a number of sangha members.

It’s been good to have lived in both Shasta and Throssel this past year and connect with my fellow monastics. Now time to return to where you all live. To connect. Directly.

Living takes many forms. Talking to a plumber about her work this morning on Skype and then this afternoon a short drive to visit an 80+ year old grappling with living her life. Then sitting in the car while a swarm of workers sprayed and wash it. ‘You work very hard’ I said in appreciation of a job very well done. Their English didn’t stretch to an answer. Living takes many forms. Living on donations, as I do, is……? Humbling.

Thank you people for your financial support which makes it possible to live as I do. And for offerings too. Today a bed sheet arrived by mail and a frying pan handed me. Much gratitude all around.