I was certainly lamenting the continued grey skies over the weekend, although I also appreciated that it was milder than it had been before, and that there was little wind. These made for pleasant hiking and riding conditions at least: we had a good crowd to take in the Land’s End Trail and linger on Mile Rock Beach on Saturday. On Sunday, I rode what I would ordinarily consider a standard route, but under current circumstances, it was the hardest ride I had done since Covid, and it felt okay; I was suitably tired afterwards.
And then in the first part of the week, we saw the full blossoming of autumnal sunshine, such as I had been hoping for since Labor Day. Meteorologically speaking, I understand that this is a time when offshore and onshore breezes switch roles, and temperatures over land and ocean balance out in a way that doesn’t happen over the summer months in San Francisco. Stillness arrives, sounds carry differently – with my window open in the mornings I hear the rumble of the freeways and the Caltrain horns.
We had a pleasant sit on Monday, and then I headed down to South San Francisco to teach at my student’s company. As I started along the car-free trail from the BART station there, I felt warm and relaxed. I passed a couple of young guys walking along with a bit of a swagger. Even though I left them plenty of room, one of them exclaimed in surprise as I passed, and then said (and I assume it was intended for me), “All that moving and you ain’t going nowhere.”
Now, he may well have been stoned, but nonetheless he was expressing a fundamental truth – I could not help but think of the exhange between Hui-Neng and Yongjia – and it has stuck in my mind as a subject for teaching this week.
On Tuesday evening, coming back from the East Bay on a similarly warm end of afternoon, I got some food on Valencia Street and sat in the little playground there as children noisily played football, and the sun dipped below the hills. I took in slow Sanchez Street on the way to my student group, and found many people out and about with dogs and kids, a relaxed passeggiata. In the group, the check-ins revealed the fullness of everyone’s lives – parents’ sickness, new relationships, big trips, weddings – and that they were all somehow managing to keep things in balance.
On Wednesday I had my typical lovely mix of personal time (which includes getting chores done and going to Rainbow and the farmers’ market) and teaching sessions, culminating in a visit to Zen Center to check in on a friend sewing an okesa, and to listen to Eli, the new shuso, giving his way-seeking mind talk – new cycles beginning.