New Places, New Habits

Camille, who I have known through Zen Center since my earliest days there, had a lovely piece about Roaming Zen published in the Bold Italic (a publication I have known about for about a decade). There was a spike in the readership on here afterwards – welcome if you are new and sticking around. It didn’t, though, boost the attendance for Sunday’s roam, but we had a nice small group, and we got very lucky with a warm sunny afternoon. Pine Lake was a wonderfully serene spot to sit and watch the herons, the cormorants, and the many dogs being walked to and fro. I could have stayed for much longer, but felt responsible to get people back to the starting point on time.

Pine Lake in the sun.

The fog has been quite insistent recently. I have only seen a couple of sunrises from the east-facing kitchen window at my new place, and these were tinged with red – my thought was ‘oh, here we are again.’ And then on Thursday, smoke of a different kind when I arrived for the morning ferry. I was chatting with the regular fellow passenger I see almost every week, and she pointed to a plume rising from the Bay Bridge. It turned out that a roofing truck had caught fire, though we couldn’t tell that exactly from where we were; we could see a few figures standing back, and heard little booms as propane tanks exploded. That was quite a start to the day, though I was feeling great relief that I was not in a vehicle stuck behind the fire on the bridge.

The colours of Tuesday morning.
The truck fire on the Bay Bridge from the ferry on Thursday morning.

Even though the move to my new place happened on the 13th, there was still a lot to do to feel settled. My training came into play in a couple of ways: I spent Wednesday morning deep cleaning the old place so that I could hand back the keys at the walkthrough on Friday. I was motivated by wanting to get the deposit back, of course, but also by the practice of being on cabin crew at Tassajara, wanting everything to look impeccable – much more than one does when still living there. At the new place, I try to keep everything in its place, mostly out of sight, returning to the minimal look of my old Zen Center rooms. It took some time figuring out where those places would be for everything, but during the week all the decisions got made, even if I still don’t yet automatically turn to the right drawer or cupboard to find what I am looking for. 

This place has some quirks as well: cupboard doors that need a little lift to latch, a drawer that brushes against a door frame when it is opened. I bought a new shower curtain as the stand-alone tub needed two, but did not take into account the tall ceilings and the rail hung high, which left my standard-length curtains dangling a few inches above the rim of the tub. I had to go back to get a pair of long shower liners before I could enjoy the shower at all.

As lovely as my new place is, I felt sadness arising when I handed back the keys to the last flat. My mood has not been great on the whole; I attribute it in small part to the dreary weather, in a slightly greater part to the chronically slow internet I have currently, which makes many of the things I have to do more of a frustrating chore (and which alarmed me when I came back just before my Within class after the morning of cleaning, and the network was completely dormant for several minutes). Mostly, though, it is missing the warmth and companionship of Caitlin and Collin; no amount of tidiness compensates for the lovely, lived-in nest we shared.


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