My weekend at Wilbur, with a drive of more then two hours in each direction (thankfully the traffic was pretty light overall) was followed by a long Monday driving to Tassajara and back. Zachary and I left the city at 5:30 in the Jeep I had borrowed, swinging by Pacific Grove to pick up Djinn, who had just been in Tassajara for the last sesshin and was staying with a friend. Traffic was also not a problem, so we arrived at Jamesburg about forty minutes before the scheduled time for the stages in; having consulted with Leslie, who said it would help with her planning, we continued over the road.
It could not have been a more beautiful spring morning at Tassajara. I was glad to have the time to wander round for a while before the pre-ceremony tea, taking pictures and catching up with friends who had been down at the practice period.
Heather made short work of the ceremony, and was widely congratulated by the former shusos for her real openness and tenderness. In my congratulations, I reminisced about staying with her in Brooklyn three summers ago, when she was at a bit of a crossroads in her practice life; I don’t think either of us foresaw at all how things would turn out for her, but it is wonderful to see how it has.
There was time for a bathe – I jumped right into the creek straight away, and then hung out chatting in the outdoor plunge with Zachary, Simon and David until lunch, with great food and many more conversations before we got away.
Driving out was a little more challenging. We got stuck at the hardest part of the road, when I hesitated about the line to take over a shelf of rock, and the wheels spun into the dirt. It took a few minutes of digging, planning, and holding my breath before I could drive the Jeep almost sideways to the edge of the mountain and then keep enough momentum to get me over the tough spot.
All in all I was at the wheel for a little more than eight hours, which seemed fine at the time with the great company, but left me absolutely exhausted the next day. As I always say, though, it was totally worth it.
A redbud down at the end of the main path.
Another one by the stone cabins.
The creek at the bathhouse looked pretty healthy, and was very fresh.
Former shusos arriving for the ceremony.
Heather, with the fan, between Paul and Tanya, who was the jisha, and is also Heather’s wife.