Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pleasant Walk, Pleasant Dinner

It had been an afternoon of desk work and book keeping for my little business.

By 4:00 I wanted to refresh my spirits. I laced up my walking shoes and ambled into town. I had a package and letters to mail, checks to deposit at the bank, and I wanted to visit my favorite book store and tea shop and say hi to Jim. After, I walked the library to borrow some books of Chinese poetry.

All these errands, yet I still hadn't walked even a mile, so I decided to loop home, out to the edge of town, a saunter, for exercise.

At the southern edge of town, I caught my first glimpse of the crescent February Moon higher in the western sky than I thought it would be. Native people of the east would call this the Snow Moon (appropriately enough this year) but here in California, it would be the Robin Moon. Robins are busy around here now.

The moon was a big goofy grin, high in the sky.

Fit friends jogged past saying, 'Hello." Other friends waved as they drove by. One rolled his window down and we exchanged a friendly greeting. I fell in step with a retired couple walking their Tibetan Terrier who looked very much like our family dog, Champ, my dear dog friend, now gone. Another friend walking her new dog stopped for a chat.

I walked and talked for an hour.

I was looking forward to going out to dinner with my wife, the Mayor, in the company of two dozen town officials and community leaders at our local sea food restaurant. It would be a warm early spring evening full of conviviality and animated conversation over local fish and local wine.

When I got home, I opened one of the treasures I had brought home from the library. In an anthology titled A Drifting Boat, Chinese Zen Poetry,  I found this poem written by Kuan Hsiu 1,100 years ago.

Spending the Night in a Little Village

Hard traveling, and then
a little village, for the night:
a year of plenty, chickens, dogs,
it's raucous as a market town.
Come out to meet a stranger in the dusk:
whole families laughing happy:
beneath the moon,
seining up fish from the pool.

—Kuan Hsiu


Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Isn't it a delightful experience when you have done something and then sit down to read and open to a page that seems to reference exactly what you just did? Amazing.

Sounds like you live in a lovely community ... probably due to the mayor, right?

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Bonnie--

It was wonderful to see across so many years such a similar experience recorded by someone in Asia. Reading that poem was like hearing a bell ring. Resonated.

Sebastopol, the town I live in, is wonderful. It's been called North Berkeley, but it's not really that much like Berkeley (where I lived when going to college) because its much smaller, less diverse, and slower. Being married to the Mayor makes me a somewhat public figure and people listen carefully to what I or my wife has to say about the issues of the day. The editor of our local newspaper was at our table and we had a wonderful talk. (We've been friends for, gee, 10 years?) So, yes, this post was trying to convey how nice it is to live deeply in community.

The Pollinatrix said...

Sweet synchronicity!

You make me miss the Bay area.

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you. Sometimes I wish it were just a bit more seasonal. Seeing photos of ice and snow makes me long for just a little bit of it...and we only very very seldom do see any snow.