It’s not official, and who knows what might change, yet it appears that Spring is arriving rather prematurely.
We’ve had a run of highs in the 60s & 70s. All the snow is gone, except for that in pockets of deep shade. Tips of grasses, clovers, & forbs are coming up. Flowers soon to follow? Birds are singing. And, of course, mud! Good ol’ midwestern mud, especially downhill from the barn where the horses have been cooped up.
The ducks & geese are laying again. When they hear us coming, they quack & honk a delightful racket till they are let out. As they race & flap excitedly to the creek and then in search of delicatbles (bugs? shoots?), we collect 3, 4, or even 5 eggs. After their winter break, the shells are nice and robust, as are the insides.
Soon, too, there will be spring delicacies of the green & flavorful kind. The natural bounty of the valley will offer foraging opportunities: lambs quarters, yellow rocket, ramps, nettles, morels …
As the cottage is well insulated and is getting lots of sun, there’s barely any need for lighting fires in the stove. Still, we do every other day just because the fires are pretty and Flopsy likes them on her chair.
I’ve been enjoying a regular schedule of teaching since the start of February. Most of it is in the WI-IL-MN region, with a few trips further afield are in the schedule, too. I’ve enjoyed observing how my style has been effected by last year’s adventures — dare I say it’s softened & is more heartfelt — and I do less lecturing and more interactive conversing. Also, the inevitable references to cancer, chemo, the medical system, and the insurance industry tend to illicit responses such as chats afterwards with folks who’ve also been through cancer personally or with a loved one.
Although we need to be careful with the mud and soft ground, we are finding more time with the horses, and even I’ve been riding. Living in the cottage, now, facilitates this and other aspects of sanity.
Apologies, tho, for less frequent posts & emails. With the teaching and finally enjoying living at LP proper, there’s less time for computers & the activities dependent on them, which remain at “the office.” We hope, too, that you can unplug more and enjoy life more naturally, in touch with bodies and the physical world. Tan Ajahn always reminded how being intimate with nature is beneficial for being intimate with Dhamma. When you are able to, please visit us, meditate in this beautiful valley, and explore Dhamma teachings under the hickory tree.
We wonder what this early spring, after an unusually warm winter, will mean for the summer months, but no need to proliferate around that. We’ll take what this spring offers, enjoy, and keep on practicing opening up & letting go.
Be well, be free.