Saturday, April 15, 2006
Easter In Lascun
A photo of a churchyard in Lascun
How can I construct my humble hut right here in the midst of Oxford Circus? How can I do that in the confusion of cars and buses? How can I listen to the singing of birds and also to the leaping of fish? How can one turn all the showings of the shop window displays into the freshness of green leaves swayed by the morning breeze? How am I to find the naturalness, artlessness, utter self-abandonment of nature in the utmost artificiality of human works? This is the great problem set before us these days.
---D.T. Suzuki, addressing a conference of world religions in London, 1936
Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
---Rainer Maria Rilke
Winter having come,
the crows perch
on the scarecrow.
Ilona is in the Pyranees this Easter weekend, where snow may cover the mountaintops all the time...so Kikaku's observation may not be completely inappropriate today. Besides, the cross is something of a scarecrow too...and in the winter of our discontent the crows sit on it and caw away.
No more sermons today in this quiet day of expectation and hope---unless I can't help it. The 6:00 morning here was utter mystery. We have a new pup that Jeroch rescued, as his chain had become entangled in a bridgepost. He must have broken loose with no ID, so we've welcomed him in. We named him Jacques in honor of Ilona's school quarter in France...and that was before the vet told us he's mostly Jack Russell terrier. Down the hill he went after a herd of deer breakfasting in the meadow, waking the late risers among the bird population.
It stormed here all night with lots of rain, but thankfully little thunder and high wind and no tornadoes, at least through our land. I haven't checked the news yet, but of course we were worried given what Iowa got yesterday in the full explosion of this storm system. I think I heard the news say there were so many tornadoes in Iowa no one even could count them. I dread the next time I'll hear my rightwing friends tell me all this weather of the past couple years is a natural cycle. "People have NO effect on the climate," I heard taught in a Middle School science class this week.
The air was wonderfully clear and just a little cool. A miststeam was everywhere. The dispersing clouds revealed a brilliant Jupiter in the southwest, but the gold decoration on the cloud fringes told me the moon was just below. Sure enough, a few minutes later there she was, looking still full but rather frowzy and tired, as if she'd been kept up all night by a stormy lover. The conjunction is a magnificent moonset to look for if you're a Sunrise Service person tomorrow.
We've been missing Ilona especially as Easter approaches. She is active in the Episcopal services we attend, helping the priests...and her absence around the altar hurts. No Easter baskets this year for the first time in our marriage. Empty basket syndrome. But she called us Thursday at dawn here. Her friend Keenan's mother had arrived from Cincinnati, where she is a physician. His stepdad is an avid hiker, so off they were going to a little town of population 200 called Lescun. The place is right on the major trail that traverses the entire mountain range.
Ilona says she definitely will be in a church tomorrow morning, and I imagine the experience is going to be just amazing. We went to a service at a little church on Georgian Bay a couple years ago, and all the references were to a great tradition of fishing in the town. I wonder if the people of Lescun herd sheep or something. This is the heart of Basque country up there, and I know she is curious about that culture. O gee, I am so envious!
I think on Tuesday they're going on into Spain to Pamplona for a couple days. This is where Jeroch's friend Karin just spent the last couple months. Both girls were at DeGaulle the same day, missing each other by one hour. Then some more time at San Sebastian before returning to Pau. Maybe they'll even get to attend some school finally!
This all seems so auspicious in my life. Yeah, I've lived in big cities and loved it, but at heart I'm just a country boy who likes hearing the peepers and frogs leap and dance in the increased wetlands this morning at dawn. May this time of transition revive us all!