Sunday, March 23, 2014

leaving the monastery...

Driving away from the Monastery of the Holy Spirit always affects me.I get teary as if I am leaving home and yet,joyful because I am going home.

I only spent two days there in my beloved solitude and yet, something in me is attached to the plain cinder block ,white church ,built by monk hands and charged with years of prayers.If there is holy ground,this is it.They now have a consecrated area ,Honey Creek Woodlands,that is set aside for cemetery plots and I will rest there one day.It seems so fitting.

When the sun came out last Wednesday afternoon,I drifted across the monastery lawn to a bench under a Chinese Chestnut "whose long bare branches reach out over me.The sun is hugging my neck and the warmth feels so good on a cool day.Lord,thank you for the sun,this majestic steadfast tree,crows,sky,sounds of bird calls,Bradford white. My heart is grateful.".journal notes.

When Basho, the Japanese poet who died in 1694,travelled, he went on spiritual journeys,not trips.He took little beyond the tunic on his back and writing materials.His poems were influenced by nature and what he saw around him.I can see him sitting outside his poor hut, on the River Sumida.He leans over a fire with a tea cup in his hand.Content.And then,what he described as "the gods seem to possess his soul ", he is up to go and see.And in the wake of his travels he left beautiful haiku poetry.

If I passed him on the road,mumbling in his tattered tunic, would I turn away?If one passed me hugging the Chestnut,would they think me odd?

                                  bench by the grey trunk
                                old unmovable Chestnut
                                      branches over me.


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