The Nature Of Wind

I feel a little self-conscious that when I write about my current life, the weather figures prominently in the story; then I think of Linda Ruth, and how she started almost every talk she gave during practice periods at Tassajara (I did three which she led) with some comments about the weather, as a way of grounding whatever followed in the reality that we were dealing with – and at Tassajara, the weather was always very prominent, and we spent a fair amount of time outside.

So anyway, after the last post, the fog came back with avengeance (if you read my stuff on Patreon you will have already seen the pictures); I read that it has been the coldest April and May round these parts for decades (unfortunately it has been a long way from being the wettest, so now we have drought to face again). This all feels part of the way the weather has been tilted off axis through the course of my life.

What blew away the fog and brought some clear, if not especially warm, weather, were some mighty winds, loud enough to rattle the chimneys on our roof. These at least allowed me to pull out the old analogy of the oak and the willow when I was teaching meditation last week, encouraging flexibility from our strong roots on the cushion (though I am aware that very few, if any, of the people I am leading in the sittings are going to be on a cushion).

After which, rather embarrassingly, I felt like I had run out of things to say about meditation. I had a recording due, and couldn’t think of what I wanted to talk about. The live sessions are easier, because there is always somewhere to start, depending on the mood of the participants – including myself – but I have the notion that an enduring recording should have more heft. In the end I talked about basic awareness practices.

Of course, the nature of wind is that things change, and I am sure I will come up with some resonant phrases again soon.

One way I have noticed change in myself recently is, now that I am fully vaccinated, and with the sudden shift in CDC guidelines, I am considerably less agitated to see people walking around without masks; out on my bike, I have stopped riding with a bandana around my neck, ready to pull up, and instead have a mask in a pocket, ready to pull out if needed. It has taken a few weeks of adjustment, but now it feels almost normal.

Another, more banal change is that the regular football season has finished in England. There are still a couple of European club finals and the European nations tournament to come in the next few weeks, but I know I will suddenly have quite a few more hours in the week – especially weekends – without matches to get absorbed in. I may even manage to finish a book. I picked up a new book by Shodo Harada on the Platform Sutra from the Zen Center bookstore on Friday, and I am excited to dig into it.

And to wrap up, here are some photos from the last couple of weeks:

A somewhat typical view of the fog as it wraps around Twin Peaks and heads dowtown
Also somewhat typical, deep in the fog on top of San Bruno Mountain
High winds, and entropy, reduce two lanes of the Great Highway to an extension of the dunes
On Saturday morning, I did some exploring in Pacifica in the sun.
Two views of Oyster Point from consecutive weekends
This past weekend was a little more spectacular
I was out early enough on Sunday that for the first time I tried taking the road that runs into the belly of SFO – it has a bike lane the whole way, and was bascially deserted
Just south of the airport, on the Bay Trail, the tranquility belied by the loudness of the plane taking off
In other realms, it was a joy to be volunteering for the Bicycle Coalition again, as things get back to normal. Here we are engaging with a family of cyclists on Market St on Friday morning, with Bike to Work Day rebranded as Bike To Wherever Day

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