Rarely do I pause and get up close to observe patterns, shapes and textures. Now these frost covered leaves, isolated and framed, show their delicate beauty. In each frame dead leaves, with green life there also.
It’s been a good day. A walk up to the ‘trig’ point high up on the moor above the monastery. Mist covered the Tyne Valley floor and by afternoon we were enveloped in freezing fog. That too has its beauty.
Whether it is cold or blazing hot where you are, if you are alone or in company I hope you have had a good day. To be followed by many more good days.
I managed to get out for a longish walk this afternoon however by 3.00 pm the sun was nearly behind the hill, sinking fast towards Alston in the next valley.
In practice we talk about climbing up the trunk of the tree and being careful not to stray off along a side branch. As you can see from this tree, once on a branch it is just so easy to get lost in the maze of little branches leading in every direction.
So how does one go directly. Climb the tree, so to speak, and not waste time exploring this that and the other thing? During an introductory talk recently I found myself constantly bringing the focus of the talk to ‘returning’. Simply returning. One could say it is to the trunk, the fundamental, that one returns having noticed oneself dangling dangerously from a twiggy branch, waving in the wind.
Side branches have their place in practice, helping to reestablish where the trunk is, however I’d advise against lots of side trips if you can avoid them.
In one of our scriptures are the following words, which relate to the above.
The absolute upright holds within itself, Many phenomena within it’s own delicate balance, Both function rest reside within. Lo! Hear! Set up not your own standards.
Tomorrow is mid-Winters day, the shortest day of the year in terms of day light. Have a good one. It will be summer before we know it!
You might want to go and read one of the comments attached to the posting titled Eiko. Edera, Iains wife, kindly translated a posting Eiko had put on her blog around the time we had lunch at her place. Eiko is a cook we might want to take example from in terms of her attitude of mind as well as her wonderful ability to make food that feeds not only the body.
The last two days have been very busy and today we need to be at the station before nine to make it to the temple we will be staying at tonight before evening. We are travelling to west Japan today and will return on the 26th April. Opportunities to post during the next week are likely to be limited to a visit to an internet cafe in Kyoto or Nagoya. However here’s a little information about recent activities.
On Thursday Iain had to collect his passport from the Chinese Embassy so we took the opportunity to visit Akihabara, the “Electric Town” area of Tokyo where there are hundreds of stores selling all the latest electronic gear. I was a bit like a kid in a candy store however the noise level was such that my purchase of a camera was done at double quick time.
Here’s Eiko (on the right) who owns the Fura Restaurant where we ate lunch. She is a friend of Edera and made us feel very welcome. All of the dishes were served on hand made pottery and the meal was presented with great care and attention to detail. Thanks Eiko for a wonderful meal.