April 30, 2009

Schleswig-Holstein, Wind & Wolken Sangha

Schleswig-Holstein is in the Northern part of Germany, south of Denmark on the Baltic Sea.  The fields in spring are ablaze with rapeseed and it's called "the yellow fireworks of the north."  It's beautiful country, soothing to the eye, and gives a happy feeling particularly with the brightness of the flowers.  The weather has been grand and today we sat at an open cafe for tea.  The wind did not stop however. 

Tomorrow I'll sit a one-day sesshin with Wind and Wolken Sangha.  So much preparation has gone into it with Friederike and Harald carrying most of the load.  Cooking, cleaning, arranging tables, organizing the zendo are but a few of the tasks.  We've managed to fit in some
 sightseeing and relaxation too, but we all worked until 10 p.m. to get the final cooking and arranging completed.  It's still late and I'm writing now because the weekend holds a full schedule with the sesshin tomorrow, a creative/painting workshop on Saturday, and a Jukai Ceremony on Sunday for three people.  I may not easily get a chance to write.

This afternoon we visited an archeological site near the coast called the Giant's Grave.  It's a stone, three-chambered burial mound from 2100 BCE.  It sits out in the middle of a field and we discussed why this place?  Why not over there?  It is positioned exactly east to west in its length, but we cannot guess why it is where it is.  It's called The Giant's Grave because of its huge length.  The interior has not been excavated and examined so we don't know exactly whether there are remains to be found.  Such chambers usually hold various artifacts such as pottery, ornaments, various items that belonged to the dead.  I was saying that in Ireland there are similar burial sites, but there, the mounds have been vandalized and artifacts that would give insight into the early culture have been stolen.  The one we visited today had a deep, sacred feel to it and did not appear to have been violated.  The entry chambers were obvious, but it was hard to tell if there was a way to enter the inner chambers beyond what was visible.  It's all supposition unless there is further study.  There is much silence surrounding the area and people who came after us approached with quiet and deep respect.

Friederike, Harald and I have spent much time talking and talking and talking.  We imagine the future together,  talk over practice and Sangha, catch up on news about this or that.  They have both been off this week so there's an easy feeling except for the preparation for the events.  Still, we've managed to have fun.  On the promenade at the Baltic there are beautiful polished carvings in the stones at various points on the walkway.  Here they are standing by a mermaid which may be a little hard to tell in the photo.  

A beautiful moon crescent is flying through the skylight.  The cows are quiet tonight.  A massive red sun hung in the horizon on our way home from dinner at a local restaurant - the promise of another gorgeous spring day tomorrow.