Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Solitude at its finest

Camping part of each day in a repurposed tool shed has its charms. 

The corner with the altar fits with me in the Zoom camera for all my online sangha activities, and in winter I run a cheap space heater at my feet while I'm at "work." It's not at all lonesome but is solitude at its finest.

Our setting is urban now, but in my zero g chair in the hut I don't hear street noises, and the only pedestrian that passes my window is my youngest (he's forty) on his way to his backyard gym for a workout.

Later, I ask him how he did, and tells me something like "Three sets of five deadlifts at 250. That's 3750 pounds." I tell him I'm pleased for him.

The path he's using to get there is bark-o-mulched now, very quiet to walk on. When I go out to the Folly to check on my plants, it feels ... contemplative. To one side of me is the hut and the Folly, to the other side the garden beds. Rain pours from the gutter I made for the hut into the rain barrel, creating for free that plashing sound for which large estate gardens sometimes expend considerable sums.

The rainwater, when fresh, tempts me to bring out a pitcher and scoop up a supply for the washbasin.

The hut has a sufficient year-round "summer" kitchen, consisting of a baby fridge, micro-zapper, chopping block, tea-water boiler, 6-cup rice steamer, and various grains and such in mouse-proof Mason jars.

My mealtime routine has not changed much over the last seven years.

Add water to the rice steamer to about an inch deep. Set a bowl in the water. Pour some rice and spices into the bowl and add water an inch above the level of the rice. Set the rice setting. Go out in the yard and find some dandelions or other greens, or take a leaf from the kale or collards, and a leaf of green onion. Bring in and chop fine. When rice is done, open the steamer and throw the greens in to blanch in the residual heat. 

Lift out the bowl when cool enough to handle. Add pickled veg (zuccini, crookneck squash, cucumber and beets at present), maybe some soy sauce, and serve. 

Afterward, make tea. Look out the window at the fruit trees and, beyond them the neighbors' crow-bedecked cottonwood, maple and ash trees. Sip.

I believe I was the very last
to put my friend on the potty.
When we returned to her room
she said, "turn my chair ... I think
I should look at some trees."

She never said anything
that was not a teaching.


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