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Not so communicative

Posted on 2009.01.22 at 17:02
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

Thought I would just say a bit about what I am up to in case anyone out there was wondering. I do feel rather that I have disappeared, temporarily, into the mountains. I haven’t felt all that communicative and am rather more out of touch than I used to be with what is going on in the world. I am making the most of this opportunity as I will be emerging, all being well, in March and from then until the end of October I have a pretty full schedule of retreats, weekends and events all around Europe. Feels like a slightly scary thought given that these days I hardly see a soul, oh well I’ve always enjoyed extremes.

So I am here in the mountains alone for the moment as Padmadharini is in San Francisco for about 5 weeks. Life is pretty simple, I do some study, at the moment I am reading or re-reading Nagao’s ‘Madhyamika and Yogacara’ which is one of those desert island books that you could imagine reading over and over (an you still wouldn’t understand it). This kind of study for me has two bits to it, or maybe three, it is about understanding the concepts but also about somehow translating them into experience, into my own experience but also try to communicate the same thing but less conceptually. I have this image of ‘lighting up’ concepts. It’s like when you go to see a film the director has ideas to communicate but he or she literally ‘lights them up’ so that you feel you are being shown something rather than told something. I guess my on going desire is to be able to do something close to this with the dharma. Also that lighting up may be through language, but a more creative use of language.

Another project that I have on the go is learning CSS, which is the ‘language’ that you design websites in. I seem to have got that hang of html enough to have made my very simple website, I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would like to learn a bit more so I am in the process of learning CSS and of redesigning my website with it. It is like a rollercoaster of despair and euphoria! I’m so happy when I do a bit and it works, then again I miss out a comma and spend the best part of the evening looking for it!

Most days I am down at the house for 4 or 5 hours. My friend Manigarbha has been here visiting for two weeks and we spend quite a bit of that time clearing ‘la acequia’ which is an irrigation channel that runs across our land. It was covered in a mass of brambles, cut down trees and spiky little bushes, in all about 10ft wide and going right across the land. We now have enough material for a bonfire the size of the house though I am waiting for Padmadharini to come back and organise the permission. If you have a fire with out permission a helicopter is likely to drop a tonne of water on you and then charge you for the favour. Now I am onto the steps. There are some stone steps running up the outside of the house, which I have uncovered, and am now repairing and pointing to help keep water out of the building. I love doing that kind of work but do get overwhelmed by how much there is to do.

Then there is learning Spanish, which is going very slowly, it is hard to imagine ever being able to actually have a conversation. But I am trying to be patient and enjoy the process rather than panic about how long it might take. I did listen to a bit of a Spanish Sci-Fi play on the radio and had a vague sense of what was going on!

Something that I am really enjoying is reading, I’ve never read so much, I guess that is what happens when you have no TV/radio/internet/friends! I’ve just finished this book called ‘The Rest is Noise’ by Alex Ross it is a history of classical music in the 20th cen, a subject that I know hardly anything about. I have downloaded bits from various composers and am enjoying exploring some of them. I am now reading a biog of Crass, a punk band that I used to love, and it seems to start where Alex Ross leaves off, with people like Steve Reich and John Cage. I was laughing out loud last night when the author of the Crass book referred to their vocals as ‘Tourettian’! Luckily I have a stack of books here waiting to be read and in a way that seems like the biggest luxury of being here.

I can’t say I have much ‘going on’. An image of me at the moment would be of sitting in a chair, smoking a pipe, staring into the distance (I haven’t actually been smoking a pipe, only metaphorically) no particular thoughts about the past, or the future. Yet somewhere deep down I guess there is a pondering going on. I’m definitely pondering, but I couldn’t tell you what I am pondering.

Anyway I don’t know if anyone looks at this journal, but I thought I would just explain my absence. I guess it will come to life when I do and when I am more ‘out and about’.


gentlybreathing at 2009-01-22 17:50 (UTC) (Link)
Hi! Really nice to hear how you are and what life is like for you just now. I can understand the anticipation of several months of busyness, after quite a hermit-like existence but, knowing you, I expect you'll have a blast, bouncing off all those other people, new ideas and experiences.

Exciting that you're learning CSS. I was really impressed with your website & look forward to seeing how it evolves. I'm doing this 365 photo project with my friend Dorothy which involves posting our two photos side by side on LJ every day, making sure they are the same height and not too wide, so I can really relate to that hunting for the comma thing - this is pretty basic html but I'm so new to it and oftentimes the code just swims in front of my eyes, especially if I'm tired....

Anyway - sending love and a little wave across the miles :)
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