It is a rare period of zazen, morning or evening, that is not punctuated by a siren passing by; this is the joy of living in the city. This evening we were also treated to Led Zeppelin's 'Communication Breakdown' from a passing car, which brought a big smile to my face as I have deep visceral responses to that song going back to when I was twelve - followed soon after by someone getting a good workout on their car horn as they slowly progressed down the hill. Only when we sit before seven in the morning at weekends is there less traffic noise. And then we get the interruptions from inside - this week, a cell-phone going off, a watch that beeps at the top of the hour, and I have been reflecting on how my response to these sounds is different to my response to the external events - because the people with the watches and the cell-phones (and it is, let's face it, a regular occurrence these days) are part of our activity, and share responsibility for creating the container of stillness in a way that a passing motorist is not, and thus I hope that they bring a mindfulness to that responsibility, and can less equanimous when they don't.
As anyone who has sat zazen at Tassajara can testify, heading deep into the mountains is not a guarantee of silence - between the creek in the winter, the guests in the summer, and the blue jays pretty much year round, there is always something going on that you can get affixed to and irritated by if you want.