Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bhavana visit

I've never seen Bhavana more beautiful than on this visit -- but then, I've never been there in spring or early summer, either. Some of my photos were lost in the process of transferring from the camera, which has never happened before, but I'll show what survived.

I've never seen the lily pond in bloom before. On my first visit, it had just been cleaned out and was just a mud puddle without a lot of plants around it. I took better photos than this, but this is the only one that survived.   

The lily pond is just to the left of the bridge, the meditation hall behind it.

One of the beautiful lilys in the pond.

From near the columbarium -- such beautiful, green woods!

The columbarium, where people may choose to have their ashes interred. There is work planned for this area during the summer. My will stipulates that my own ashes be sent here.

So, that's what survived. As I suspected before I left, residency here will not be possible for me, except possibly during a summer. The work is difficult even now -- I was pretty well pooped out even during this short visit -- and their need is for 'strong young bodies'. Clearly, that is not me. I can, of course, attend as many retreats as I wish, and go for short visits or residencies, but not long term. As Bhante G said, we have to look at realities in these things, and even I know that the reality for me is that this is just too difficult for my aging body.

On the other hand, when I was there my heart felt that it was at home -- the place it wanted to be. The rest of me agrees. After a beautiful drive through the West Virginia and Virginia backroads, with tantalizing glimpses of the mountains and beautiful Shenandoah Valley in the early morning light, when I reached I-81 at Strasburg, VA there was great reluctance in the act of steering my car onto the on-ramp -- and a bit of dampness in the eyes. I really wasn't ready to leave.

So what does the future hold for me now that this isn't a possibility? I don't know yet, but I'm thinking about some way of living closer so I can visit more often. I feel that there is unfinished business for me there, and I want to honor that if I can. Right now, I'm still too tired to think about it too much.

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