I’ve had a hard time sleeping through overnight rain for quite a few years now. I first remember it in my third winter at Tassajara, when I would wake up well before the wake-up bell. A few times, knowing I would not go back to sleep, I got up and helped the jikido, whose job in those days was to get up before everyone else, and light the kerosene lamps along the paths up and down Tassajara. It was a hard job at the best of times, but when it was wet it could be almost impossible to light the lanterns, unless the firewatch the night before had gathered them all indoors, when they blew them out after people had gone to bed. And even then, with lamps lit in the dry, they had to be distributed to their posts in the dark. The jikidos were always grateful for help.

On Friday morning, about an hour before my usual early waking time, we had a heavy rain shower passing through, so I woke up, and once awake, I just got up and made myself coffee. It left me feeling a little tired – mainly just sore around the eyes – for the talk I was due to give to the sangha at Hebden Bridge as a group of them start a year of studying the precepts, but of course the energy of the occasion saw me through. It seemed to be well received; you can find it on the audio page if you would like to listen to it.

Thankfully I didn’t have much else on my schedule. After my other main commitment in the afternoon, I took a ride down to Ocean Beach, and even with winter rain gear on, got very cold and damp in the faint drizzle. When I got home, I could not bring myself to put on my robes and go down the street to sit in the zendo, where the windows are understandably kept open. I turned the heating on and put on my cosiest clothes.

I have a roam scheduled for this afternoon, to see the magnolias, which are already out, although one of my forecasts shows light rain through the afternoon. Hopefully it will be worth the effort.

The jikido’s can of matches, struck on sandpaper, as the did the rounds to light the lanterns for the evening. It was harder work in the early morning, and when it was wet.

2 thoughts on “Rainfall

  1. When I did the jikido job back in the days of kerosene lanterns, I loved getting into the rhythm of matchstrike on the can, raising the lantern glass, lighting the wick and a small adjustment to the flame, and moving on to the next. Except when it was raining, and then I too benefitted from the Mystery Jikido more than once. Nothing but gratitude. Thanks for the memory.


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