Reflections on 2020
December at Tisarana. Each day we walk by the deer in their thickened fur – the does with their observant young, foraging on grass and congregating at the salt lick near our main buildings. The Canada geese have now flown South with their happy racket. Only a few hardy species of birdlife remain, like the chickadees with their pinprick eyes, darting between the low bushes to feeders we fill for the simple pleasure of seeing them thrive.
I’ve now been at Tisarana for half a year; it’s my first Canadian winter after living in Thailand for nine years. Each morning’s community meeting contains a brief weather update – seldom a pressing matter in S.E. Asia. Since returning my supply of clothing and footwear has tripled. Snow has come and gone… and come and gone, and come. Almost without noticing, my acquaintance has returned with the crackle of ice underfoot, the moods of a wood stove, and the uncanny compaction of sound in dense cold.
Yet for all the differences, living as a bhikkhu in this tradition ensures a fair continuity of purpose and practice, something that differing weather, and alterations of flora and fauna, do not disrupt.… Read the rest