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Snow Melt Meditation

This was forecast to be day two of a rainy patch. After brunch it remained overcast, but no rain, so I decided to chance the rain and go to ZenRiver Gardens and hang out. Chase and I got there early, at 11:30 am, and as usual he bolted for the neighbour's yard so he could sniff their dog's smells.

The rain was holding off, so I decided to collect more beer cans from the several embarrassing piles. If I'm going to take my friend Thay, the head monk from Zenforest, to visit ZenRiver, I decided I should at least clear off more of the hundreds of crushed beer cans.

beer cans, pop cans
paint cans
rest intermingled

It took half an hour to fill 2 cotton 'green bags' with 50 beer cans each. Embarrassing. The rain still hadn't arrived, so time to look for another project. The wet spring soil appeared perfect for transplanting, so Chase and I wandered off to steal some pine trees from the deep woods nearby. My goal is to plant evergreens along the boundaries of ZRG to provide privacy, shade and the sighing sound of pines in the wind, far more relaxing than artificial windchimes.

While planting the second pine, a friendly neighbouring property owner stopped to chat. Of course he wanted to know where I was getting the pines, and not being experienced at prevaricating, I said from behind Dan's. He was teasing me to amuse his son, who was recovering from the painful removal of two wisdom teeth, but I decided next time to answer the way his smartass cousin would, by saying, "from the ground", something stupid like that.

young pines at attention
firmly planted
for Zen guard duty

I had planned to work slowly, my intent being to plant just one pine for the day. But the distraction of my neighbour's visit, and the satisfaction the immediate visual effect the two new pines produced, encouraged me to continue planting. Another two trips to the woods, another two pines installed in their new home along ZRG's boundaries, and it was definitely time for a break.

The rain now started, which was good for watering in the four new residents. I was tempted to leave, and Chase ran to the car and sat underneath it. But I thought of my buddy Morley, and also my friend Thay, and decided to sit on my shack's porch and meditate during the rain.

I'm learning to just start meditating. To not slow down the process with rituals of any kind, and after giving Chase three well-deserved biscuits, I sat in the pine rocker and began.

I've been practicing meditation for 40 years, as long as I've been writing haiku poetry. Sometimes I've been a devout and regular meditator and haijin, but most often not. Meditating sometimes just lightens my 'monkey mind' thoughts, which is fine. Sometimes I compose poetry during inspired moments, and every now and again I get to sit with the Buddhas.

Every meditation session is different, as varied as a trip to a foreign country, yet as familiar as a visit to my ZRG retreat. Several times I have experienced what I'll call 'phenonena'. Today's session was unexpectedly deep. Once when I opened my eyes:

white snow melt
froth flowing
river free

A red curtain appreared behind my eyes, and I was positive the sun had come out. Again I opened my eyes, but the rain was as strong as ever, the sky dull. I shut my eyes, and the sun in my mind burned so brightly I again had to open them to check. Still raining, still overcast.

I am usually a good judge of time; friends can vouch for this. I was sure I had been meditating for 15 minutes, maximum. Once or twice before I have experienced a sense of the ground moving at ZRG as I come out of a session. This happened again today. I glanced at my watch, and the session had lasted half an hour! Chase jumped on the side table to escape the wet deck and to visit, and I realized the meditating was definitely over. I was disappointed, the meditation had been so deep, the light so bright, the phenomena so enjoyable, the river carrying the white lightness of the spring snowmelt so bubbly and fast-flowing.

Chris Faiers (2008)
Box 69
Marmora, Ontario, Canada

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revised 16 November 2008