My injury-induced life on the sofa gave me a good opportunity recently to be an elder. It was a house-bound mindfulness retreat. Every time I had to hoist myself up, become vertical again and feed myself or do the minimal work of caring for myself, the walking ( with crutches) was totally focussed. I thought very carefully about where I was heading to in the house, and what I might need to take with me. I wore a soft bright woven bag( which was given to me by a young man from Papua New Guinea) around my neck , like a kind of pouch, and in this I carried all the things I needed, like the telephones, diary, pen. My walk to the kitchen might involve a detour to the music system, and then the phone cradle - then turn the jug on, find all the necessaries for tea - make a cup of tea in the camping cup with lid, put it into the pouch and crutch with supreme mindfulness back to the sofa. Wow! What a journey!
Walking into the garden was fraught with difficulty, as the grass grew long, and the crutches tangled on things. But, what a delight to be under the sky! And also I was motivated by my tomatoes.
I’ve now dispensed with the crutches and am mobile enough to take small bushwalks, of the sort that Elders can enjoy. So I’ll lead a mindful walk, a yatra, for the elders, with a heightened sense of the difficulties for the not-very-mobile-or-fit. I’ll lead the yatra on Saturday the 4th of May. It will be a silent walk for mindful practise, observing, and using all the senses. I’ll keep you posted on further details about the location of the yatra, closer to the time. I intend to find a place in the mid- or lower mountains.
I had the absolute pleasure of walking with Kate last Friday, on a level fire trail beside a creek shaded by tall bluegums. I managed it even though it was a hot day! In the middle of the valley are some caves once occupied by the Darug people. Tucked high up in a crevice was a southern boobook owl. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one. He’s quite a small chap to have such a big resonant voice at night: “hoo hoo...boo hok....boo book..”. Oftentimes they’ve flown into or near my garden at night, and I’ve seen a dark outline, sitting on a branch, waiting for the next insect meal to fly past. His plumage was brown and tan streaks and flecks. This is why I love living where I do, quite apart from the great people who live in the Blue Mountains - these meetings with the extraordinary biodiversity which we all (humans) are connected to.By staying quiet a group is much more likely to have these kind of unexpected meetings too.
I observed the fungi coming out for autumn - even though it is a very hot autumn. This is their time, and so fungi make a perfect kigo, or season word, to alert the reader of a haiku to what time of year we're talking about. These fungi delighted Kate and I on an earlier autumn reconnoitre, in 2011, on King's Tableland.
Did the toolmaker
also listen to bellbirds
in this cool shelter?
In 2007, I was in Braidwood, teaching haiku at the Two Fires Festival. I took the group down to walk beside the creek.
I wrote this haiku:
Hot autumn day -
cruises the creek
And this senryu:
A slow combat -
the landcare group