Roaming Zen

Version 2Billy Goat Hill featured in the last roam on April 8th. The views are incomparable.

DSCF2999.jpgGlen Canyon looking towards Mount Davidson. More amazing views, and quiet in the midst of the city.

These are the remaining spring season dates:
May – Sunday 21st  – I am leaning towards Twin Peaks for this one.
June – Sunday 11th – Since my travel plans have changed a little, there is space for a Bicycle Roaming Zen on this day to coincide with Sunday Streets that runs the length of Golden Gate Park and Great Highway. The last time I did this it was freezing cold in the fog, but hopefully we will have better weather this time.
Saturday 17th – I am thinking this will be a one-way roam out to see a near-solstice sunset at Land’s End, so the timing will almost certainly change just this once.

Provisional dates for later in the year:
July – 9th and 22nd
August 20th
September 9th

You may notice some large gaps in there, which is due to various travels I have (listed on the calendar page.  There are still a handful of new routes I want to try, and several I want to repeat; there is also another one-way roam I am contemplating.

IMG_0467.JPGEveryone spread along Marshall’s beach for an ocean-side sit at the roam on March 11th.

The genesis for Roaming Zen was perhaps my shuso practice period at Tassajara, where I noticed that I derived as much energy from being on the trails or up the road, among the trees and by the creek, as I did from the hours in the zendo. It was perhaps crystallised by a visit to Tassajara with Young Urban Zen a year or two later: after the days of work, a group of us set off for a hike along the Horse Pasture trail, and at one stage, hearing all the talk of people’s pre-occupations and mundane affairs, someone in the group asked if we could all hike in silence for a while and properly take in the surroundings. Afterwards, the agreed verdict was that the silence had transformed the hike.
And so, having tried versions of it at City Center, Green Gulch and Tassajara, one of my main teachings since leaving Zen Center a year ago has been to gather a small group of people, sit with them, introduce a little quote or theme, and lead them around a chosen route, cultivating mindful presence through walking and sitting quietly in the midst of city life.
I have been very happy with how the first two seasons have unfolded. There are so many little corners of San Francisco that lend themselves to the activity, surrounded by beauty, views, and sometimes quiet. We have discovered hills and canyons, creeks and beaches, staircases and alleys; we have listened to birds and waves, watched butterflies and bees, smelled flowers and ocean spray. We have looked over all sides of San Francisco and to the mountains beyond.

DSCF8854 (1)
Corona Heights

I doubt many people reading this need much persuasion about the benefits of hiking, but this article lists some of them.

I want to give some credit to OpenStreetMap, for featuring much more detail in paths and trails than I ever get from Apple Maps or Google Maps – I would not have found some of these routes without it.

The lost art of writing
Corona Heights