June 05, 2007

Every Little Thing

A flock of birds came to roost near my tent in the wee hours, small chirpy creatures. One sounded like a shrieking monkey and woke me. It was gone and I was just drifting off again when a roar jolted my eyes open. How does one maintain equanimity in the cold dark just before dawn when trying to decide if the creature making the deep angry rumbles is a bear or a moose? Either way, I would prefer it further from my tent than it sounded.

The Dorje Kasung were doing drill before breakfast. “Victory Over War!,” they sang as they marked, and “War, what’s it good for? Absolutely nothing!” I like the Kasung. I like all the contradictions of them that work so well together, paramilitary pacifists. They make me feel protected.

This morning as I neared my office I spied the muskrat in the lagoon, very near the shore. We are not supposed to have muskrats in the lagoon because they chew holes in the impermeable liner. But I like this little guy. It is like he is saying our lagoon is healthy because he likes to live there. I think his presence is auspicious good karma, like the ducks. He was cutting grass to make his house. Maybe we’ll have baby muskrats, too.

Jim, the contractor, arrive to make some repairs on the new lodge. “Have you ever put your nose to a ponderosa?” he asked me. They smell like vanilla, nutmeg, and mint, each one a little different, but they all smell good.

At noon sitting, Morgan and Christopher sat on either side of me. Morgan is eight, blonde, and round cheeked. Christopher is nine, dark haired, and always running. They fidgeted and squirmed and looked around and made faces at each other. (It is amazing what details one can see out of the corner of one’s eye when paying attention to it.) At least I was distracted by something other than my own thoughts for a change, but probably only came back to my breath just as often had they not been there.

I traded barbs with Knowles at the toaster during lunch. He’s quite good at verbal fencing. All in fun and no one’s feelings hurt, though my toast did get a little burned from neglect. There’s something to be said for being nice all the time, but I hope I’ll never loose the lighthearted fun of trading insults and arguing bizarre topics using twisty logic with good people. My Australian and Canadian friends say we Americans are far too sensitive, can’t take a good joke. Maybe we could let go of the image we have of ourselves from time to time.

I climbed on the roof of the Rigden Lodge with Jim after lunch. There is a good view from up there. All the beauty, both man-made and natural, is visible. I almost failed to even see it, we were so busy looking at peeling stucco, nail heads, fascias, and louvers. So much of our life is like that, too busy to see what is right before us, wrapped up in tiny details all the time. I feel fortunate that I am of sound mind (mostly) and body and not afraid of heights so that I can appreciate things like that.

The early morning visitor was a moose. I looked it up on the internet and found a sound bite. Now I can sleep easy. While moose can be dangerous, they are far less likely to come into your tent and eat you. I’m grateful to the person who posted the sound bite, whoever and wherever they are. Interdependence in action.

All these little things and more, are there in the present moment.

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