As anyone connected with Zen Center knows, these are the days of the month when we commemorate Suzuki Roshi's death, with a ceremony on the evening of the third and on the morning of the fourth. It does happen, of course, that these dates fall over the weekend, as they did this month, and usually that means not so many people in attendance. Last night I think was the most intimate-sized ceremony I can remember. Blanche of course was there to be doshi, and when our chiden did not appear, she also helped me to set up by making the tea offering. Vicki showed up, and was drafted to be doan as the person I thought had agreed to do it also wasn't there. Joan started as shoten, but then got promoted to jisha, and Quang stepped in as shoten. Jay was there as kokyo, plus, Lou, of course, and Martha was the other member of the great assembly. Still it was a very sweet ceremony.
This morning, naturally, we had many more people, as it was part of the morning schedule. During the chanting of the Harmony of Difference and Equality, I noticed that Blanche was leaning on the radiator in the kaisando; I tried to catch Joan's eye, as she was next to Blanche, but the next thing that happened was Blanche sliding down to the floor. I dashed out to get a chair while several people came to her rescue; all the while the chanting continued. It was one of those moments where we take care of what needs to be taken care of, and somehow still manage to keep the container of the form. I know Blanche does not like to be fussed over, and would not have wanted us to stop; she was suffering from a normal reaction to her morning medication, and was not in serious difficulty. It underlines the point she made at the beginning of her talk on Saturday - we are all of the nature to get old, or as another teacher once put it, we are all only temporarily able-bodied.