A Chiden Drawer

Moving is a pretty exhausting business. The movers came on Friday, and were skilful enough to pull in right after the street cleaner had driven through. The whole process took about the same amount of time as a year ago, although at least this time we were not in the middle of a heatwave. I still have some cleaning to do at the old place – most of which seemed prudent to leave until it was empty – and some finishing up to do here.

Apart from the quiet, and the small deck at the back, one of the main features of the new place is two lovely built-in cupboards. Since I have a couple of other storage spots, I have been working out how to make best use of them. The kitchen one obviously has plates and glasses in the upper half, as well as all my old photo albums along the top shelf (and negatives and discs full of photos in one of the deep drawers), and the open shelf is becoming what I call the whimsical altar, full of mementoes, rocks, sticks, and other things that I often have had on display in the past. In the main room, the built-in struck me right away as the best backdrop for the regular Zoom teachings (though I have not done one yet, and the internet is way slower than the smooth fibre optic connection we were just enjoying). The open shelf will be a more formal altar, and I realised it would be lovely to have a drawer for all the incense (not actually allowed per the lease, but I still have supplies of it for weddings and such), extra candles, matches, and the many altar style cloths I have accumulated. It takes me right back to the days of chidening, taking care of the altars, which was one of my very first temple jobs at Zen Center.

It feels very quiet and dull without my beloved, and it is, I realised, the first time I have lived on my own since I left London at the turn of the millennium. I remember how to do it, of course, and that it is really not my favourite thing. Luckily I made some mildly social plans over the weekend, taking photographs for the Bicycle Coalition at a bike donation event for kids on Saturday morning; the kids were adorable of course, and their enthusiasm showed even with masks on. My ride on Sunday was punctuated by stretches chatting to other riders who were heading in the same direction as me, and ended at the Great Highway, where there was a rally to keep it in its pandemic car-free state permanently, the mayor having suddenly decided to open it during the week, and where it was nice to see some familiar faces from the bike world.

This girl typified the yound riders enjoying new bikes and trying out their skills.
A diverse crowd out to support a car-free Great Highway.
The books are not really sorted, and the altar not set up, but hopefully soon it will look ship-shape.

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