Days at Tassajara

Any time I get to visit Tassajara is a good time. A few people on this trip asked me if I missed living there, and right now I don’t, but it is still a place where I feel more alive than I do just about anywhere else. I was reflecting this week on why that is, and I think a lot of it has to do with the way I feel radicalised by the landscape – never having lived anywhere else nearly so wild before – and how it enables a certain physical way of being that I relish, as yesterday’s post probably demonstrates.

I had forgotten how pervasive the flies are when it is still warming up at the beginning of the summer, especially the biting deer flies. But there are also the flowers, and the butterflies – I think I saw almost every variety of both that I could think of –  birds of all sizes, newts, the burgeoning greenness of spring that has not yet dried out, the returning vigour of the creek after some moribund drought years, and of course, any number of wonderful people. At night I fell asleep too early to go out and admire the radiant display of stars, but I slept so well in the deep darkness and silence that is unimaginable in the city.

It was lovely to get up in the fresh early morning and go to sit with everybody else. On my first morning, Greg came by after the jundo to offer me his kotsu, an invitation for me to be the doshi for morning service. Despite not having done this for six months, the movements were all in my body, and the chants still in my head. Having that position in the middle of the chanting assembly felt very powerful again; there is a particular kind of presence that I feel in that situation, face to face with the Buddha on the altar.

There were some clouds in the sky when I arrived, and that lends a softness to the light that was helpful for taking pictures, which is what I was down there to do. Even after all these years, and many thousands of photos, I was still able to find some new angles.

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Flag Rock and the ridge above the Horse Pasture from up on the Tony Trail

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Upper Tassajara Creek valley from the Tony Trail

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The creek upstream from the waterfall

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The creek towards the narrows

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Larkspur by the bridge

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Chinese houses

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Baby blue eyes on the overlook trail

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Aloe and yucca in the lower garden

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Poppies by the stone office

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Iris in the lower garden

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Roses in the lower garden and Flag Rock

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