So busy this week! I've had no time for updates until today, my day off. Days off around here are luxurious. For now in particular because I am on lock down I have nothing I have to do except relax. One of the rules here is that in beginning a work practice apprenticeship (WPA) you have to stay on site for one month. I definitely understand it a little better now. The first month of coming to a place like this from your previous situation can be a bit of a culture shock. I think it would be really easy to take off every time you got a little uncomfortable, go get a cheeseburger or go shopping or something and that would just make it harder to settle in.
So here's the news from Green Gulch Farm (GGF). The weather is uncharacteristically gorgeous. For those of you familiar with the northern California coast you know the general rule is cool/cold, foggy, windy, misty, etc. It has been sunny EVERY day since I have been here. I was working in the garden in a t-shirt and I got a sunburn! Now mind you, everyone is struggling to enjoy this magical weather (have you ever seen the sun filter through a canopy of majestic redwood trees?) while also knowing that the farm and garden are needing to be watered at rates unknown for February and people are feeling almost a little apocalyptic about this crazy weather. What can we do really?
Down in the garden, my learning continues. I'll tell you, it's really been a challenge. It is not something coming to me intuitively. I have always had jobs with a base in social exchange and that comes very naturally to me. This type of relationship with nature is new. I will share some tidbits I have learned. 1) Symphylan! They are little tiny critters in the centipede family and they are one of the pestiest pests for organic farms. They love things like compost and they eat the roots of seedlings. Being organic farms, pesticides cannot be used, so it is simply a matter of damage control. 2) The other day I was "pricking out." Sound weird? Don't be scared, all I was doing was thinning out seedlings that had sprouted and transplanting them into bigger spaces so they could grow stronger before going into the ground. But the coolest thing I learned, and wished I had known when growing sunflowers, is that as they are growing and their stems are getting tall, but are still skinny, you can replant them with a lot of the stem in the ground so they don't fall over while they get taller. They're sort of like awkward preadolescents.
I started my classes this week. On Mondays, the class is on the History of Buddha Nature (when I have any idea what that means, I'll share :-). Aj over at Ariel Pork said, to him it meant radical acceptance of everything. I love that answer. On Tuesdays, the class is based on the famous series of pictures called the Oxherding Series. It is famous in Zen as a sort of a representation of the spiritual journey from looking for something in your life you think is missing and then finding it, often there all along. The teacher leading that class is Fu Schroeder. She is the teacher of our dear friend Reirin (who married us) and my goodness, she is just one of those people you meet and she strikes you...sort of like my boss at IWES...like they can just see the world exactly as it is and still be full of love.