The rabbit, a young one, stood motionless in the middle of the lane as I walked to meditation early this morning. Returning a couple of hours later it was on its side, gasping for breath. One of the monks had made a fence of gardening tools, signalling us to take care. Still later in the morning it was gone. Dead, at last, and now buried.

Myxomatosis is here, again. The virus gets into the rabbits gut and it’s only a matter or time, a long slow time, before the infected creature is dead. I remember when, in the early 1950’s, this disease struck the rabbits in our part of Sussex. We were near the Kent boarder where it was first discovered. Spread by accident or design, nobody is sure. This was my first encounter with slow death. I’d seen road kill often enough. Those gasping animals in beside the road left a deep impression on me.

Most of us must have passed the rabbit on our way too and fro to the main buildings this morning. In such circumstances we routinely make gassho and say the three Refuges of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for the creatures benefit. It’ll be the most blessed rabbit in the valley! As with the foot and mouth outbreak back in 2001 we can’t do funerals for each animal, however we can offer something for the ones we see and keep the big picture in mind as well.

Each time I passed the scene there were thoughts of frustration; thoughts of helplessness in the face of its inevitable demise, there were the feelings of uncomfortableness looking at the raw reality of it all. And also there was the background wanting to DO something. But there isn’t anything that can be done, the virus keeps on emerging. One could think, well it keeps the rabbit population down, which is true.

So, things/circumstances hardly ever come up smelling like roses, from every angle.

Quintessential England

Derwentwater by Keswick in the Lake District, with ducks.
In other words, if you stand up you are likely to fall in the water!

Each year our chemistry teacher lead a party of pupils from our school in Sussex on a walking tour in the Lake District. We traveled by train, the last part, from Kendel to Windermere being by steam. The South Downs were the highest I’d ever been above sea level, until I came to The Lakes, when I was thirteen.

My first sight of the high fells, as we traveled by coach from Windermere to our Youth Hostel in Grasmere, remain with me now. It was love at first sight. Nothing in this world has ever matched the lakeland fells. I remain forever loyal.

Interestingly I cannot remember ever going out in one of the rowing boats pictured here. I understand they cost, at one time, five shillings for a day!

Let it Be

Yesterday evening I was all set to write about focusing on the important thing. That is how to avoid getting caught up in the comings and goings of the coming and going of daily life. When, I discovered my newly washed laundry looking like it had taken a tour in the septic system. Then, having tinkered with my computer earlier in the day, discovered I was not able to log in to this Blog. Suddenly the comings and goings were right on my doorstep, and not going away!

Anyway, letting it be seems to work, as well as sleeping on it. After thoughts before bed about making an effort to back up ‘Mountains’, an email from Iain in Japan in the morning confirmed he’d just done that. Unasked.

Now, after a day out in the English Lake District I’ve managed to write this, although not on my computer. After a day taking photographs I’m quite proud of, I have mislaid my camera. I’ll sleep on that…

Uma is Unwell

Just a quick note today to mention that Uma, one of our Abbey cats, is poorly at the moment.

Please offer her some positive thoughts during the day if you have the opportunity

in gassho

News from the Kitchen

Our cook here at Throssel pointed me to a blog written by the cook at Harnham Monastery AKA as Aruna Ratanagiri Buddhist Monastery. He is a layman and he updates every Friday. There are wonderful photographs and the blog opens an intimate window on the practical life of the monastery. Every week is listed what foods are needed as well, sometimes, what they have enough of. Obviously this is more of an ‘in-house’ blog however I think I’ll be nipping over to Harnham on a Friday. At the moment the cook appears to be on holiday. Ours is taking a break too.Here below is news from August 10th. Did we have sunshine then? We are not that distant from one another although I often think we have our very own weather system in this valley.

The retreat that was impending last week is today nearing its close. Outside, we’re into our fifth day of sunshine, contrary to my pessimistic predictions; and also those of our Italian friend who dug a protective moat for his tent in the manicured lawn of the walled garden: When our resident greenkeeper finds out, ‘il signor’ could be the first casualty of the week.

That is, if you don’t count the spectacular demise of the best porcelain cups (which shattered yesterday’s silence and for which I offer further apologies to Meme and Drew); or the following list of minor battle wounds thus far accrued:

One sprained shoulder (yoga teacher)
One twisted ankle (yoga student?)
One bee sting to the nose
One case of constipation (set free with prunes)
One case of earache (unrelated to the comfort of the new Dhamma seat)
Numerous minor kitchen burns.

This all sounds so familiar.

And should you be interested there is a download page on the monastery site. One download program gives you a random verse from the Dhammapada each time you boot up your computer. For daily inspiration.