Yesterday, two cranes flew overhead. Giant and graceful, Tiger-cat and I watched them from out bench next to the kitchen while we waited for the dinner gong. The bold magpie tried for snatches of our fajitas and salads, but settled for the bits of rice which fell on the ground. After, Sylvain and I went up to the pasture and led the horses in to be saddled and bridled using carrots and apples for bait. Susie, Sylvain, Maya, and I rode until dark. Maya, 9 going on 30, rode in front of Sylvain and learned how to control the horse. We watched the sunset over the ridges from the high stupa valley. In the dark we unsaddled them and brushed the dust and sweat off their backs. The cold was creeping up, making me wish for my gloves.
Today is another beautiful day, sunny and warm. As I walked down the trail to breakfast, the horses trotted over to the fence to say hello. I had no food for them, only scratches around their ears. After waffles and a shower, I walked down the dusty, and much pitted, dirt road to work. At the lagoon I stopped and gazed at the water, looking for the ducklings due any day now. None so far.
In my office, I turned on my little space heater, but also opened the window a bit for some fresh air. I’m going to ask the facilities guys to nail up a screen so I can have it open more when the summer heat arrives. On the shelf above the desk sit framed photographs of Chogyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche along with a set of slogan cards. The slogan for the today is “Be grateful to everyone.” I added a little desk calendar of impressionist paintings sent to me by my grate-grandmother and the little stuffed cat which meows from the care basket my friends gave me before I left Nebraska. And, of course, Architecture Graphic Standards, 10th Edition.
I think this is the best place I could be this season. I will learn much, love much, be outdoors much, meditate much (I’m trying!), and eat much good food. Gratitude is the greatest thing I can do now. As the summer wears on and I tire of hiking a half mile to shower, sleeping in a tent which rattles when the wind blows, and never knowing if I’m going to like what is set out for lunch everyday, I should have gratitude for those things as well, for they are also part of that ‘much’ I will learn. This place is my teacher, custom designed and built by thousands of sangha members who came before.
I am grateful for this place.