October 14, 2012
I don’t guarantee that I will always enjoy this, but for now, I find pleasure and satisfaction in the simple act of washing in the stream. Of course, if it were inclement weather or I was in a cloud of biting insects, it would not be so pleasant.
There is a short, steep path from our campsite to the edge of Clear Creek. I bring some dirty clothes and rinse them in the rushing water; they undulate and billow gracefully in the current. Everything seems at peace here, whole and complete. Satisfaction comes from full sensual involvement and from having nowhere else to be. The feel and sound of the cold rippling water, the morning sunshine playing on the surface, the rustling of birds nearby and their cheerful songs.
A little later I wash dishes in another spot downstream. I think of Buddhadasa’s advice to live simply, close to nature. Beauty and surprises reveal themselves as I take the short walk. A large “rotten” banana slug crossed my path. At home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, these slugs are a solid soft yellow; this one has the coloration of the northern variety, beige and olive with brown spots, like a banana gone bad. It is fully extended at about 9”.
This all feels quite different from the humble household tasks at home. Although being present and contented can be part of washing dishes anywhere (just ask Thich Nhat Hanh!) the act seems richer and more integrated here, part of a living environment. I also think of the millennia during which people, probably mostly women, have squatted by water cleaning their few possessions.
I am having a difficult time remembering what day and date it is. I keep just forgetting or get mixed up; I notice this as I try to keep track for this blog. Of course, in many ways, dates aren’t relevant to us but it is still important when dealing with the civilized world and in keeping in touch with family. My sense of conventional time has diminished after years of meditation and now, in nature, with minimal schedules or appointments, it has relaxed even more. Some evenings, when I reflect on what occurred just that morning, it seems impossible that it could have been on the same day. Other days, time moves so quietly, so stealthily, it’s hard to believe the day is already coming to a close.