Tuesday, January 16, 2007

January 7 Four Seasons Sitting -- Winter at the Pond

Last Sunday morn, only a light but crispy breeze would reach down from the hills to wave a fern now and then. But, the valley was resounding from falling water cascading into the pool. Rivulets and sometimes droplets flowing over moss. Leaving a stream of bubbles popping on the pond surface.

Winter was upon all of us here -- bare branches -- fallen leaves -- some kill-frosted ferns -- a Texas valley of Japanese wabi -- "To be poor, that is, not to be dependent on things worldly - wealth, power, and reputation - and yet to feel inwardly the presence of something of the highest value" (D.T. Suzuki, Zen and Japenese Culture)

Five Ordinary Minders silently sat and joined with the pond, the cold, and each other in a winter embrace. (It was so strong, it even split some britches!)

Afterwards, over warm Starbuck's brew, our discussion eventually led to Basho's haiku about the pond (An old pond, ah! A frog jumps in. The water's sound.) as well as Robert Aitken's commentary, and even Peg's remarks, "Ha! Aitken falls right into Basho's trap, teeth chattering like an old drunk on the streets of Chicago." (We caught a picture of the frog in flight at the pool to give you some idea of what we were talking about.)

Next time, on March 11, we will try to take a picture that does justice to the pool's smooth-stone carving of Sunyata; and we will be discussing the poem that led to Dogen's tract on "Mountain Colors and the Sound of Valley Streams."


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