One of the things I like best about going west for a retreat is being able to relish with ease the time before and at sunrise. At home, I sometimes sleep through dawn once the days get long. The light is just extraordinary at the ending and the beginning of the day, revealing the openings in space and time.
As it is every year, the Azalea Walk at the National Arboretum fills me with joy and wonder. “Was it really this splendid last year?” one of my companions asked. “I go every year,” she said, “but I forget how gorgeous it is!” She comes back each year to remember the beauty and the awe. So, too, it can be with our practice. We stop going to class or practicing our meditation or asana for a while because we get too busy. Then we come back, and we ask ourselves how we could have forgotten the joy and beauty a steady practice brings us, and we are inspired to commit again.
I don’t talk much about my front garden because it is not as exciting for me as the back garden with its edibles and herbs. I give a sincere effort to make the front garden beautiful and welcoming since it is my interface with the neighborhood and all who walk past my house. The front is very shady and two maple trees block the rain and drink most of the water that gets past the leaves, so it has taken some effort to find plants that thrive. Much of what is in my garden comes from other gardening friends. Plants that come from friends near-by are likely to do well moved down the street. As my garden has matured, it has needed divisions, thus giving me an opportunity to share, in turn, with younger friends and neighbors. It thus nourishes in important ways, though it offers nothing to eat.
I have been walking past this sculpture regularly ever since I was a judicial clerk in 1987-1988. It is in the plaza between the Federal and DC court houses. It is dated in the subject matter. The partner-associate relationship has shifted over the years, both from the inclusion of women in the law place and the changing economics. The shift in economics to assume that most associates will not be partners because the firm simply does not have the space for more partners and because the associates feel freer to move around and for a whole host of other reasons, some more benign than others, has left new workers bereft of the support of a mentor. In the disruption of the continuity of the workplace, those who stay are less motivated to serve as mentors and lose the delight and strength that comes from the action of mentoring. Those who come into a workplace without a mentor never learn the way they could. Although some of the changes are good, the missing mentor is indeed a loss.
Though the sculpture reminds me of something lost, I love this sculpture, especially where it is set. It is absolutely suited to its location and was made with great skill and love.
Sully and Uma have been here for 10 days. It’s true that the cat tree came with them, but it is amazing how quickly they adapted to a new space and a new person, given that they are middle-aged. Part of their resiliency is due to how affectionate they are and that they came together (though I suspect she would be happy as an only cat). I can definitely learn from witnessing them.