One of the consequences of the recent departures is that after a little over a year in my old room, I get to move into the room most recently occupied by Joan - though I also think of the previous distinguished occupants I have visited here over the years, Shohaku and Daigaku, and of course there were many people before that as well. Just like the seats in the zendo, each room comes with an ineffable sense of previous occupancy. In this case there is also an abiding fragrance, as if the tatami mats are imbued with years of incense burning.
This room is distinctive in that it is the only student tatami room; it was just kitted out with some of the mats that we took out of the Buddha Hall when we refurbished ahead of the Mountain Seat, complete with charcoal burns in one case, but which are, unfortunately, a couple of inches smaller than the very old ones that were previously there, which means there is a gap around two sides until the surrounding boards can be re-built. This temporary glitch aside, it is a beautiful room, south facing, as all my rooms here have been, so I am sitting in the morning sun writing this. It is the first time I have lived in a tatami room since my first winter at Tassajara, almost ten years ago, when I was lucky enough to be in cabin seven.
There are gains and losses: it is a larger room, with a distinctly larger closet - big enough to have a light in it; I don't have the permanent view of the city off to the east as I did in the corner room, nor the bird's eye view of the intersection of Page and Laguna, but then I also have a much more muted level of traffic noise, and a sense of greater solidity and less draughtiness from not having windows in two walls. Nevertheless, the feeling of interiority gained from looking over the courtyard and the other wing is offset by being at the near end of the hallway. The nocturnal part of me was glad of this, as I am considerably closer to the bathroom, but apart from the handful of seconds I will save each day by not having to walk to the end of the corridor, I have already had a subtle sense that I am not retreating to the outer reaches of the building, but am closer at hand.
I am still figuring out the best arrangement of the various pieces of furniture, having also inherited a taller bookcase and a table from Joan, and this process is not helped by having a sore throat and not having my usual amount of energy. This also made setting up for the chosan this morning more of an effort than it would ordinarily have been, though with help it all came together easily enough. I was sitting in front of Blanche and Victoria feeling a little poorly, as the discussion focused on how best to take care of ourselves and also follow the schedule. I am listening.
|I am now a little further away from incidents like this recent call-out of the Fire Brigade|