A Day in the Mountains

Last week’s day of heavy rain blew away, and was followed by a bracing north-westerly wind which brought back the cold, but also brought an amazing clarity to the light. Heading down to Tassajara early on Sunday morning for another shuso ceremony, the 101 was lined with frost-filled fields, and when we arrived, even walking down from the sunny gate to the shaded work circle we could feel the temperature drop. We heard it had been twenty-five degrees first thing.
Luckily the zendo is kept warm these days. Lauren’s ceremony was on the short end of the scale, with a small practice period, and a typical number of former shusos. Unlike the  Green Gulch assembly, the monks at Tassajara have been somewhat insulated from the day-to-day stories about the election, and the mood was softer as a result. Lauren was extremely warm-hearted in her responses, which was lovely to witness.
There was time to bathe before we sat down to lunch, and a few of us jumped into the sparkling creek between soaks in the hot plunges, all of which was deeply satisfying. I had extremely good company in the rides down and back, so the eight or so hours in the car over the course of the day passed more smoothly than sometimes happens; we even got back early enough that I could catch up with the football before falling asleep…

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Linda Ruth, who led the practice period, arriving for the formal photographs after the ceremony.

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Linda Ruth with Linda Galijan and Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin, all former Tassajara directors.

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The difference between sun and shade was very marked.

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From the hot plunge…

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… to the creek. 

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I don’t think anyone who loves Tassajara gets tired of this view from Ashes Corner.

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