I feel like I haven't said very much about the experience of sesshin. As was discussed with Paul during dokusan, the ino doesn't necessarily get to stay internally focused, as there is so much else happening. As it turned out, I had a fairly relaxed and spacious first few days; after that I felt quite tired, and then towards the end it was mainly very busy, and once again I felt sad that I didn't get to stay in the zendo more as I was organising the various ceremonies.
As for the silence...I accumulated large numbers of notes from many people about many things, and also had a lot of interactions. After one meal, I remained on the first floor as I needed to check in with someone, and ended up having six conversations in five minutes. I tried to minimise it from my end by deciding not to offer feedback to people about things that happened unless it really felt necessary. From the other end, there were people who didn't know what they needed to do, people who were upset with themselves as they didn't believe they were doing well enough, people who were upset with other people over various exchanges and the ramifications of them, people who were upset with me as they didn't have the information they needed, and people who just wanted to talk. There was sickness, old age and death.
One participant who was new to Zen Center complimented me afterwards on the way I handled all the people that were coming to the zendo; I replied that the people who came weren't the problem, it was the people who didn't come that caused the problems, as I had to figure who could cover their jobs and how to keep things running smoothly.
I am going to be cheeky and tack on a note about the stats - I was happy to see that the counter now stands at fifty flags, and I had to laugh when I saw that the newest flag was from Guernsey, which I didn't think would even qualify, though at least I know how to find it on the map. We are also up to thirty seven states, having picked up both Alaska and Hawaii, and I am now starting to wonder which are the missing ones - I don't think I have seen New Hampshire, but otherwise most of the gaps seem to be from the South.