We have had some pretty heavy-duty fog these past couple of weeks in San Francisco. It’s par for the course at this time of year, as everyone knows, but we had managed to get through half of July without it being too much of an issue. There is a heavy quality to the fog light that does not do much for my morale.
I have been pretty busy still – in a good way, and I have nothing to complain about as I am teaching in many different venues at the moment. The Dogen class took up a lot of mental energy over the course of the month, though I was pretty happy with how the conversations went, as there were a number of class participants who shared their thoughts and questions, and brought about some stimulating discussions (I have posted the audio from the classes on the audio page if you want to listen).
One thing I have noticed about myself – I think it was being ino at Zen Center that really brought it home – is that if I have a major event that takes a lot of planning or focus (the class in this instance, I remember one of the big funerals being the first time I really noticed it as ino), it’s not the planning itself that causes the stress, but having to deal with other things at the same time. They may be very simple in themselves, but they exacerbate the feeling of having too much to do: “oh, I wish I could just focus on this one big thing”, and then I put off all the other things, or do them without any feeling of spaciousness (and filling in the gaps for this blog has been one of those, so if the last couple of weeks has felt a little perfunctory, then there is some truth to that – not least that I didn’t write a personal post at all last week).
So this week I tried to go against that – taking time to clean, do the dishes, rather than just decide that they would have to wait until I had my notes for the class sorted out – and of course, it was actually relaxing to do those things, which made me more relaxed about getting the notes in order….
I even found, right after the last class, that instead of just fretting about what I would work on with my student group the next evening (as I had a full day of work ahead of that), I just sat down with Lama Rod’s book and read it until I had found a good passage to discuss. And the next evening, after the student group, sitting down to read Braiding Sweetgrass, as I wanted to share some of that with the Hebden Group (I have also posted the audio for that most recent talk).
Nevertheless, on both of the last couple of Fridays, I have got to the end of my meetings, and decided I needed a complete screen break. Last week, I took myself off to Twin Peaks, which was mostly shrouded in fog, and, once I got to the top, pretty scoured by wind. This past Friday, I ended up in the Sutro woods, where I have not been for many months (under normal circumstances I would have either roamed or run up there some time over the spring and summer). The fog had burned off, and it was warm in the shelter of the trees. I made my way over to Golden Gate Park, sitting by Stow Lake before meeting up with a Zen Center friend in Duboce Park for a socially distanced catch up. A good way to start the weekend.
Market St disappears into the mist as I climbed Twin Peaks.
The fog stayed away from the Sutro woods.
Ducks (and turtles) at Stow Lake.
I was very happy that last Saturday, the day I had chose for my long bike ride, was the warmest day of the week – this was heading out of the city via Brisbane.
Further along the Bay Trail.