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4-30-12 - Clay gets me to the SFZC alumni retreat at Tassajara

Katrinka and I only have one car which is hers and she offered it, but younger son Clay drove me to Tassajara for the alumni retreat. We left a day early. Still in San Rafael we did some errands and before they were over Katrinka called and said we'd forgotten the blankets. I had a scrap of paper with names and numbers of friends along the way but he suggested we go straight into the woods where we planned to stay for the night.

Passed some heavy equipment resting on the dirt shoulder. The crew had just gotten started. The road was in bad shape after the first few turns. Glad we weren't in the Fit - economic but unqualified for the ruts and rubble. Clay hot-dogged around in some rough spots with his 4runner throwing me about mercilessly. Up in China Camp past Chew's Ridge we set out walking on the road that descends to private cabins. Wee creek running down with us. Met a reddish brown salamander crawling up the embankment. Watched as its arms and shoulders moved - such obvious kinship I said. Actually, legs of course, I added. Air legs he said, noting that his friend D might say how obvious it is we're not related, planted here by aliens from whom we are descended. Hmm. OK. Regardless of the genealogy we're every one of us in the ASB Boat - all sentient beings.

Got back to camp just before definite darkness. Overcast. Didn't think of flashlight - or kindling - or hatchet. It had been raining not too long before we were there. He had a pocketknife. I gave him some sheets of 8.5x11.  Kind campers had left a pile of crates and small pallets. He shaved off moist surface and split slats  Did it. We sat by the fire for hours. He heated his leftover calamari sandwich. The flames whipped around, stunning. In all other directions quiet and dark. Started drizzling. No flashes or roars. We talked of heavenly performances and played with the thought of deafening lightning and blinding thunder.

Arrived at the gate to Tassajara well after midnight. Awoke just in time to dart to the zendo for morning zazen, service, cleaning, breakfast, tea, greetings, hot sulfur bathing.

Last year was the first we'd missed a trip there since Clay, recently turned 21, was three. We checked out the new Retreat Hall. Good acoustics. Warm floor. Beautiful slab doors. Admired the neatly engineered bridge over the Tassajara creek which had been removed prior to the fire. Tested the swings. Took the overlook trail. Lush green everywhere.

Clay drove back in the early afternoon. Alumni were arriving.

Tomorrow - alumni retreat. Meant to write about it today but got carried away.


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