Category Archives: Daily Life

The Cherry Blossom Blooms….

Cherry Blossom blooming.
Cherry Blossom blooming.

The kind woman who made it possible for me to stay on Cortes Island left some twigs of Cherry Blossom in a vase. She said, ‘I hope they bloom by the time you leave’. They have as you can see. And the sun shafts in the windows of the house by the beach while I pack to return to Victoria via Gabriola Island.

Rev. Alicia is on the move too. 24 years ago she came to Throssel to be a monk. I admire the Reverends up-beat optimism conveyed in this post. I’m glad you became a monk and glad to be part of your journeying onwards.

Good fortune to all on this lovely day as I look out on Desolation Sound. So named by a George Vancouver reflecting on his sailing through these waters, “there was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye”. One sea sick sailor I’ll be bound! Just shows you how the body influences ones outlook on life don’t it! Oh and how the condition of ones body can impact ones outlook too. So easy to miss in the rush to go places and do stuff.

Old Growth – Memory, Like a Movie!

My start point was at the top left hand corner of the map seen below.  

Thanks to Ourcortes.com and all the folks who maintain the trails.
Thanks to Ourcortes.com and all the folks who maintain the trails.

Phew! I am so glad to look at the map of the trails I walked late last afternoon. It would have been kinda handy to have had it in my hand at the time! From my understanding, and befuddled mind, I must have walked all around the edge of the map! It was over two, and nearer to three, hours I was on my feet deep in the magical mossy old growth forest. It was getting dark by the time I completed the walk and I was definitely getting anxious considering I didn’t know where I was, or how much trail lay between me and where I’d parked the car! Somehow all turned out well and I had one of the most memorable walks. Ever.
Gunflint Lake and Hague Lake
I think I took the Swim Rocks trail. It was a choice between that and this way…!
Cortes Hike
Yes a walk which is linked to an adventure back in 1967. I came to Cortes with two friends by water taxi, stayed a night with their acquaintances, swam in Gunflint Lake and then flew back to Campbell River on Vancouver Island the next day by sea plane (or float plane as they are called). The whole experience left a deep impression and almost by chance I find myself here again AND yesterday I walked in the forested-edge of Gunflint Lake! Forty + years later.

I have had the time and the mental space to reflect on the intervening years. Nothing and everything has changed. How so? Time, and space, have a way of twisting and curling and evaporating and reemerging which defies the ordinary mind and its capacity to understand. I’ll say no more!

With much gratitude to those who have facilitated this trip including those who have donated CAD (Canadian Dollars). Rain and sun, mist and blue sky – all magical. And memorable – in the way a movie is memorable when it touches ones heart. Thank you to those near and far for making this trip possible.

Words In Repose

Words sing from my heart
Unformed.
Like air in the feathers
of a bird in flight.

What Joy!

Words can land
Take form.
You said where there’s wind
there’s ‘hot air’.

Hum, what’s that mean?

The bird folds
her airy wings?
Hot air condenses
Onto the cool page?

Ah! Rest, repose.

Anyhow
This is a start
standing in the kitchen
making marks.

Need, lunch.

This is for Gerry with unbounded gratitude for your writing encouragement. Yes. OK. You said I have an ‘ear’ for words, I bow to your long life experience. I heard you, every word. And saw your smile too. Thank you. No ‘landing’ is every happy (for long), just presents new challenges. Good fortune.

Being Mortal – What Matters In The End -(Book)

Impermanence, one of the three signs of existence, has certainly been to the forefront of my mind since I left England back in mid May. I’ve lost count of how many deaths there have been in the last seven month. All people significant to me. Death is certainly a wake up call in terms of realizing the Truth of Anicha. That which arises, passes.’ And who can complain at that. But everybody does.

I have lost track of which month each died except for Grant, my luminous friend, in Vancouver. He was the first to go and it was late August. Bless him. The date eludes me though. And my Dharma Brother Alexis Clouds and Water, tragically killed in a car accident. In January I think it was. He was the last in the procession of people entering eternal meditation. So far anyway. I’ll be here in Canada until March 12th.

Their names are significant to those who suffer their loss and the date of death will for ever be an important day for those close. The name embrace our memory of them. The highs and the lows and the laughs in between. What has captured my attention in particular is life itself as it flows along on the river of our mortality.  Not in terms of ‘making the most of it’ more a growing appreciation. The moving towards what is yet to unfold and that life need not be counted away as a litany of lose more an understanding of that which arises, passes.  Ant that’s not a problem!

From the moment one enters the world until the end there is a level to our beholding existence and towards the end of life the encounter deepens. That is as it should be if we gave ourselves half a chance and allowed time and space to write the end chapter of our lives to amount to something greater than loss and limitation. Would that not be amazing!

I have been drawn to reading about end of life experiences. There are so many books around which speak of the last months, days and hours before physical death. We have all had our own experience with this when being around the terminally ill, the elderly and the like. Here is a quote from the current book I am looking at. As is pointed out in the quote below ‘the ending matters’.

In favoring the moment of intense joy over steady happiness, the remembering self is hardly always wise. “An inconsistency is built into the design of our minds,” Kahneman observes. “We have strong preferences about the duration of our experiences of pain and pleasure. We want pain to be brief and pleasure to last. But our memory … has evolved to represent the most intense moment of an episode of pain or pleasure (the peak) and the feelings when the episode was at its end. A memory that neglects duration will not serve our preference for long pleasure and short pains.” When our time is limited and we are uncertain about how best to serve our priorities, we are forced to deal with the fact that both the experiencing self and the remembering self matter. We do not want to endure long pain and short pleasure. Yet certain pleasures can make enduring suffering worthwhile. The peaks are important, and so is the ending.”

― Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Mountain Air, Deep Lake

Castle Lake, Northern California
Castle Lake, Northern California

Castle Lake is over 100 ft at it’s deepest point. I’ve been swimming in it but not today. Brrr, it was cold up there 5,440 ft above sea level. An odd sense of airy mystery hung about the place. There is history here, violent history from over 100 years ago, which I’ll not go into. Enough to say this majestic place leaves one a bit unsettled. Perhaps it was the odd and unexplainable sound which emanated from the rocks across the water. Somewhere between a moan and…well, who knows what! However it was good to be out and about with my monastic walking companion. There is little time left for our walks together before I catch the train north early Tuesday morning and today was a welcome change of pace. Especially since, remembered half way through our time together, it is the anniversary of each of our fathers deaths this day. We sat and remembered them over a cuppa sitting outside in the sun.
SAMSUNG
There has been little time these past days to post here. Unfortunately. Each day I intend to write and yet by the end of the day I’ve not done so. My justification and truth is that ‘people come before posts’ and so I’ve spent a good deal of energy, gladly, walking and talking and drinking tea and visiting and listening.

Thank you for your patience.