Surrounded By Boxes

September has a feeling of change about it, and this year is no exception. The lingering memories of being at Tassajara and transitioning from guest season to practice period get fainter each year; what I feel this time is a preparation for hunkering down for more months of shelter-in-place.

On a personal level, it is a time of change: after almost five years, I am leaving this cosy shared house and moving in with my sweetheart. The distance between my current place and the new one is about a mile, but the logistics are still there to be tackled.

At the outset, having found a place and signed a lease, the things to take care of seemed a bit daunting, and I woke up a few times crammed with thoughts and plans. Once I started taking the necessary steps, booking movers (because I really don’t want to move everything myself, as I did when I moved in here from Zen Center, in the rain, while I was sick), buying and picking up boxes, organising my stuff.

Now, a couple of days out, my books are all packed, and about half of my other stuff is. After moving this weekend, I will be getting on a plane to meet up with my sweetheart as she wraps up her affairs, and we will be driving back from the mid-west to San Francisco later in the month. All of which means I won’t have much time to post new things this month, and there will be some repeats scheduled – after all, with almost 1800 posts published, I like to read some of the wisdom again myself.

It seemed fitting, if sad, that the Hebden Bridge discussions wound down this week. These started back in April, as everyone was adjusting to lock-down, and it was encouraging to discuss how practice helps us meet such challenging times. I have really appreciated, as was expressed this week, the generosity of the sangha in offering this space for people across the UK and beyond, many dharma friends who do not ordinarily get to meet in person very often (as Wendy pointed out, we were coming up for the anniversary of my last in-person visit). I have also appreciated the opportunity to give regular talks, in a way that I haven’t before, and to entwine the conversation with Catherine Gammon (who, along with Wendy, I have known for about fifteen years from our time at Tassajara together) as we alternated taking the dharma seat.

Perhaps, after a hibernation, it will be possible to fly to the UK again next year. In any case, I trust the sangha will still be there, and still offering support.

I will miss the south-facing deck in my current flat…

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