Wednesday, May 09, 2007

on the Dalai Lama and seeing the sky

The Dalai Lama came to town yesterday. He spoke at Smith today, and by all accounts was his cheery, humble, loving self. He seems like love incarnate. Yesterday Dave said, he's driving down your street at 4pm. Go see him. At 4:00pm I went out and joined the crowd across King Street from the Hotel Northampton. His Holiness got out of the car and walked up the steps and bowed to the crowd who was cheering him and bowing back.

I bowed too, of course, and felt quite teary all of a sudden. My emotion surprised me. I flashed on Fred Rogers, the closest thing I've met to a saint. Now I was in the presence of another. Back at the office someone said, I wish I had been blessed by the Dalai Lama just now. And I realized, of course, that's what I was, I was blessed by him. What an honor. Namu Amida Butsu.

Our sellers are Buddhist leaders in the Valley and they have been with the Dalai Lama for several days, here and in New York City. Knowing this gives me an even stronger feeling about our new house. The love that emanates from the walls and floors and permeates every room makes me feel serene and at home. I'm excited about moving in. The big date looks like it will be Friday, June 22. Helpers welcomed!

Yesterday at work we had the first of the summer "salad" days. A group of us meet for lunch once a month and take turns make salads for everyone to eat. It was all delicious and the best, surprisingly, was a simple salad of watermelon, basil, and feta cheese. Who knew? Cut the basil very thin--chiffonade it.

Then last night around 9:30 the phone rang, and it was Jay, Dave's friend who lives down the street. Jay's an amateur astronomer and he takes lovely photos of the things he gets in his scope. He said, Saturn's up! So Dave went over for a couple of hours and looked at Saturn and his rings and something Jay called the Ghost Ring, which Dave says looks like a smoke ring but says it's a distant star with smoke rings around it. He told Jay it looks like an onion ring. I couldn't find anything specific on Google, and feel free to tell us what it is, if you can.

The weather is so lovely now! Balmy, airy, soft, moist but not humid. I miss the northern half- mile stretch of Fifth Avenue, with all the callery pears bursting into white cloud blossoms all at once. Spring seemed more intense in Brooklyn, in a way, more focused, because there's so little nature that when you do find some it's all clustered in one place. Take a walk up President Street, for instance, in the Slope this time of year and the dogwood and magnolia and cherries will be exploding. I would go from house to house in just one block, breathless at the beauty.

Here, it's all nature, all the time. Most everyone has at least a bit of yard and some daffodils. If I see three or four flowering trees in a row I'm surprised. Yet, I'm also surprised that I find flowering trees everywhere, and in unexpected places--a parking lot, for instance, or beside a field of cows.

Living in an agricultural area, and yes, this is still an agricultural area, makes me even more aware of the seasons. This is grass season, for instance, and I don't mean the illegal stuff. I mean asparagus, the famous crop of Hadley. Just like sugaring season that begins in late February, everyone waits for asparagus. (Click on that link, it's a great article.) Only now it's not pancakes at sugar shacks with fresh maple syrup every weekend, now it's asparagus church suppers, and asparagus sandwiches and asparagus ice cream. I haven't tasted any yet but I can't wait. I can't wait for the season after this one, either. What a joyful way to pass the year, looking forward to the next crop coming in.

Tonight after dinner we drove over to Lily's school, Fort River School--did I mention that last week Dave worked for two or three days with a bunch of other parents installing the new jungle gym? He bolted things and dug things and shoveled concrete and shoveled woodchips. When they heard we were moving, other parents (of course now we are finally starting to get to know some folks) would say, but if you're moving, why are you working on the playground? But of course Dave would help, if he has the time. That's the kind of guy he is. Awww! But it's true! He is!

Anyway, we went over around 7:15 tonight and tossed a Frisbee around for a half hour. Lots of kids were on the new jungle gym (it's gorgeous! and desperately needed; the old one was wooden and full of splinters and not very useable). Some men were playing softball, others were having a mini tailgate party in the parking lot. The sun set slowly and the bugs came out and the sky was this amazing pale blue, with streaks of clouds and one distinct jet trail.

I don't remember seeing blue sky in Brooklyn, or even missing it. Was I blind? Did I never look? I do remember the gorgeous sunsets we'd see as we walked down the hill to our house, brilliant streaks of reds and oranges. But I had forgotten what sky really looked like until tonight, and more importantly, how much of it there is. It's really quite a big thing, the sky! I wonder if a negative affect of cities is that because people only see buildings they don't realize how small they are. I know when I see the wide expanse of the sky I have a clear sense of my insignificance.

I am so glad we are here. Times like this, I wonder what took us so long.

1 comment:

  1. Dave saw the Ring Nebula... it looks like a ghost ring around a dying star! He also saw some pretty neat globular clusters!!



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