> jumping into life.


When I say that I've changed over the last year, it is true but not accurate. At least, it doesn't feel like change, so much as it feels like I've dropped my leaves, lengthened my roots, and dug in deep. Winter's coming. All summer was good growing time, and I gave myself a good pruning. Things have dropped away, but when I look closely I see that they weren't really mine; weren't really me. As Nina puts it, the pencil lines on paper beneath the paint. I almost wrote pain - that's true too.


Dawnlight. The bricks glow orange, the trees are steaming, the birds wheeling. Yesterday's one-day sit scoured my brain. All day in shashu, all day in silence. Today words feel unwieldy and foreign. Poetry thrumming quietly in the background, waiting to be born. Yesterday morning the rain sang us into the zendo; today there is sun. All the pieces fit together, somehow.


Blessed fog. I open my window wide to let it in. Raven perches in a gloomy cypress across the way, and the faint moans of tugboats call back and forth across the bay. The fog has put me in a terribly good mood. Yesterday the sun did quite the opposite, and I stalked around my room putting on and throwing off changes of clothes, unsatisfied with everything, just wanting to bundle into a warm sweater and call it home.

Last night we talked about shanti paramita, translated as patience or forebearance. Two parts: the first is nonreactivity, breaking the habitual reaction; the second is abiding, entering the experience. Something causes you to react - you don't have what you want, or get something you don't want - and can you see through your reaction? Dinner falls on the floor. Your mind and body react: No! You reject what is. There is usually a "should" attached to impatience, I find. Dinner should not be on the floor. (But it is.) He should not be across the country from me (but he is); the place I live should be quiet (but it's not).

Paul tells us about nonreaction, and it sounds like holding back. But I have been feeling so strongly lately that self-control is - like jealousy is, or anger - merely a flag. If I must control myself, it means I am out of touch with my true intention. At Tassajara we decided, "if you slow down enough, what's good for you tastes good." It is true for wholegrain bread and twinkies; I think it is true for everything. If I am really paying attention, I only want - really want - what is good for me. If I am paying attention, I do not have to control myself to avoid eating candy; I just have to remember that my desire to nurture my body is deeper than my desire to taste sugar. My desire to nurture my practice is deeper than my desire to see him, or to live in a quiet place. For now. I think that my desire to nurture my practice and myself will lead me to him, and to quiet places. For now it keeps me here.


When the days curled over each other in the long summer, their edges frayed so that I could no longer pick them apart; when I could not meet another human's eyes without weeping; when the body wanted to walk and walk but was made to sit instead; then homesickness would descend, thick as oil. When the predawn fullmoon light sang sycamore shadows on the trail; when the kaisando filled with creekwhispers and the sweet smell of tatami; when the bell came clear through the center of me; then the homesickness would rise, soft as new bread.

I was not homesick for the home of my childhood, nor for the house I'd just left in the mountains. I was not homesick even for the roll of ocean or the burr of desert hills. It took me weeks to find the core of it: I was homesick for your kitchen. I was homesick for the smell of yeast and the light through your kitchen window. I was homesick for your yellow pots and the hum of the kettle and our easy mealtime dance. I was homesick, really, for you. I was homesick for you. I was homesick for you.