Across the creek there's not much going on, as Beloved will not start goats until some offsite obligations have been taken care of. So I still mostly mow over there, to keep the ground open (it would fill with blackberries and other invasives if left to itself). At the moment there are three treatments: Cut on a high setting and leave the clippings as mulch; cut with bagger for garden mulch; let go to seed. You can see all three in the above image, with mulched mowing left and foreground, going to seed in middle, and waiting to be cut for garden mulch at right. The grass that has been chosen to go to seed seems to take drought well, so I'm encouraging it to seed that middle section, which does poorly over the summer. I've seeded the low ground to clover, which is most of what ends up on the garden.
Also in foreground is Toto, on alert for the neighborhood feral cat, who teases him.
For several years I gardened in that low ground to the right and tended plum trees left by the former owner. The flood of '97 took all that away. It was almost two decades later that I felt like trying something there again, which was potatoes. I had three rotating patches. But it's quite rocky underneath and I was raising too many potatoes, so now they get only a bed in the garden and there's still too many potatoes. Who knew?
Around to our right is the little Stone Buddha Zendo, formerly the children's playhouse. Toto and I try to get there once a day. I'm not a talented sitter but I mean well.
It helps that there's a fairly long walk, through rain and sun and over a bridge, to get there. One of Dogen's big things is
which can be in English: "studying the Buddha way is studying the self." Which has led in the West to a lot of navel-gazing, something we were prone to in the first place. But Dogen's idea about "self" is that there is not past, not future, just consciousness everywhere right now, and that the thing we tend to regard as the "self" is actually a tiny bit of that. If we let go of that little bit, that ego-self, what we hopefully notice is that we're still here, but now we're -- well, everything.
It's badly put to try to say or write it.
But to leave the house, walk over the bridge ("other shore reached!"), trudge through the clover in the hot sun or cold rain, step into the tiny room with the tiny waterfall outside the window, take off garden clogs, bow, and sit, provides one with the opportunity to bring the house, the creek, the clover, the sun and rain (and Toto) into the room and be all those things.
I'll try one more time.
It's not that I get to be Gaia, 'k?
It's that Gaia, along with everyone else (the creek, the clover, the feral cat, Toto, the spider in the corner of the Zendo's window) gets to be me.
Which she was anyway.