During one night in January a huge amount of snow fell at Shasta Abbey which is located in Northern California, USA. The particular quality of the snow had it clinging to the trees creating a huge burden of weight. Very many of the trees simply fell over causing damage to buildings and other trees. Saplings bent under the weight and remained bent over after the snow had gone. Fruit trees and broad leaf trees shed limbs and tops snapped off in many cases. A sad event for trees. Now in the aftermath there is much clearing up to be done. This evening I helped one of the monks to collect kindling before the relentless wood chipping crew sweep through munching everything in its path.
For those not able to watch the video there is a message towards the end of the clip which is basically a plea to exercise compassion – for the trees and for oneself and towards others. More photographs on the way.
This post was edited soon after I put it up because what I’d written might have been interpreted as I had not intended. And that would have been a great pity.
Here at Shasta Abbey, having arrived late Tuesday, I finally hit the wall. This afternoon after over a month of constant activity I gave myself over to doing nothing. Gradually my system booted down and I slept the sleep of the truly exhausted. Ah, wonderful!
Earlier: After I’d listened several times to the classical music loop on the ‘planes audio offerings I slipped into semi consciousness. But before that, just a couple of hours into the ten hour flight, I was already wondering what I was going to do with myself, with my mind, for the rest of the flight. So much for my pious words about doing the work that comes to you and not getting ahead of oneself. I’d become a constant motion machine. It’s hard to just sit and sit with the constant background burrrr of the ‘planes engines, with nothing to do. Nothing at all to do. The steward made the trip though. He was like the kind uncle I never had. So very kind. I didn’t even feel obliged to be a good passenger as is sometimes called for with more brisk stewards.
In the end Alice in Wonderland came to my rescue. Ah! In-flight distractions! And in no time we were flying over Mount Shasta and getting ready to land. Just before we buckled up for the last time the kind uncle came up, bent low to my ear and with genuine sentiment said, It has been a pleasure. I could have wept.
There has been so much kindness all along the way. Thats from leaving Throssel, through visiting the temples of our Order in the UK and Germany, to arriving here in Northern California. How much that is appreciated. Indeed, It has been a pleasure. A pleasure to be out and about and now a pleasure to be here where I spent my early years of training.
Sometimes one stands and talks, and sometimes one just stands. And stands and stands. Upright. You have to hand it to these rocks – they have been through a lot. And they are still standing – perhaps talking too!