The last time I went to Wilbur, I took some Hongzhi with me – as you will notice from the future posts quoting from the book. Many of the phrases – I was going to say his phrases, but of course they are translated – were wonderfully resonant as poetry, and the title of this post was one I noted, for its seasonal topicality. As I reflected further on it though, I realised that he wasn’t really talk about spring, but about the life force, and how that can well up as part of our manifesting practice.
Nonetheless, spring is a great time to feel the life force. With the rain having blown away for a while, and with the north wind bringing a fresh edge to recent mornings, it has felt very spring-like. As we approach the equinox, it is clear that not only are the afternoons getting longer, but the day is starting earlier, where for a long while it never seemed to be light before seven.
This week I had the opportunity to ride over to Green Gulch (with a few diversions and closed roads en route as the winter weather left its mark), as a teacher friend wanted to take some of her kids there before they spent a few nights unplugged on Mount Tam, and I acted as their native guide. It was a sunny morning, though the usual deep peace of the valley was lessened by the noise of repair work on highway 1 just above the entrance, and also by the slightly more human scale of construction on the new bonsho tower.
Our first stop was the garden, as the zendo was occupied all morning. When we stepped into the rose garden, I really wished I had brought my camera, as the delicate light picked out the blossoms and the pale green buds on the tree in the middle of the space. I was reminded of this time of year at Tassajara, when, having survived the months of bareness, the sight of buds on the alder trees felt like a joyful rebirth as we sat in study hall and the morning sun shone up along the creek.
Last weekend I gave the zazen instruction at Zen Center, and at the end of one of the brief sits, a young man said, “It’s amazing how many things there are to notice in every moment when you start paying attention.” I encouraged the school kids to use their time away from screens and out in nature to have a full experience of noticing what is around them and absorbing the energy and the teaching it gives.
I knew that even without fresh pictures, I would be able to find something similar in my archives:
This is the tree that was bursting into bud.