April 11, 2009

Packed and Ready

It's early Saturday morning and I'm moving quietly through the house as I do the finishing touches for the trip.  A retreat is in progress with C.J. Jikyo Wolfer leading meditation and practice.  I'm jotting a few words here as I finish my morning coffee.

My son-in-law, a Swiss national, says that if you ironed out the mountains of Switzerland to make them flat, it would be the largest country in Europe.  The mountains are indeed, steep and intense, with huge land mass.  You can hardly believe the beauty of them.  The picture above is the view from the retreat center, Felsentor (www.Felsentor.ch), at Vitznau, above Lake Luzern.  I'll be there next weekend for a four day retreat entitled "Mountains are Walking."  We'll practice Zen meditation, of course, and also engage in creative activity to explore the mountain within and how we live the mountain in daily life.

But for these next few days, from Sunday to Thursday, I'll be in Zurich at a family home.  As things go, they have to be away so I'll be alone in a fantastic apartment three blocks from Lake Zurich.  From the balcony/patio I can see the Alps and the hilly settlements around Zurich that move up from the lake.  I'm looking forward to the peace of it.  Switzerland is a very quiet country.  My daughter and I have speculated about why it is so quiet and why the Swiss are such quietly spoken people.  I suggested that it is because they are mountain folk who understand the nature of sound in the valleys and the ways in which sound easily echoes.  You have to be very quiet to listen to what the mountains are saying and to hear what is happening around you.  My daughter thought that perhaps it was because of the war and that Switzerland was separated, an island away from the destruction, yet aware of what was happening around them.  They accepted all who were fleeing from enemies and they learned to keep silence. 

I'm off to the airport, a very noisy place, and I'll write from Zurich with a few photos of where I'm staying and as I prepare for the retreat at Felsentor.  In the next few days, soft Zen practice.