Thursday, 2 June 2016

Gratitude Ceremony

The next Sunday I rose at dawn and repaired to the barn, for wash day and to meet Linnea for proof of life in the afternoon. Morning was heavy, and as I hauled a gallon of drinking water back to camp rain began to fall, the first real snass in weeks. I buttoned up the tent and headed back down the Stovewood Trail. There wasn't enough rainfall to extinguish the motocross, but I'd slept well, and that guyed my spirits.

The day threw a few spanners all the same. Back in the barn my foot promptly rolled between two large logs, a raft of which I had to clamber over to reach the lower cache, and I hurt my shin badly. The wound throbbed for hours, but luckily was just a very bad welt.

With the sun itself abed all morning, I froze my backside – and the rest of me – bathing under my rusty coffee can. In spite of the good night, all of it – the rain, the injury, the motocross, the frigid bath, anxiety over the visit – irked me.

I countered with gratitude practice, which any road had become habitual by then. I thanked my bowls while washing them. I thanked my spoon, and my bandanas. I thanked my backpack, and the empty manure bag I used as a sitting cloth. Food and clothing. Sun, rain, and land. The big walnut tree in the barnyard.

I thanked friends and family, who had given me most of what I had. The ceremony reminded me how beneficent the universe is, how sweeping human kindness. And also to misdoubt the fear of isolation. Kuan Yin's Army of Compassion numbers in the billions. And they've all got your back.

So screw you, Mara.

(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson.)
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