Friday, April 27, 2012


I can only apologise belatedly for the failure of the posts I had set up to publish themselves on schedule during the week. I am not quite sure which step I neglected to take to make it happen; I will probably recycle most of them for my next trip.
So I am back in the city after a week where my only brush with technology was using my digital camera. I had a wonderful and somewhat relaxing time, and I think the six people from YUZ enjoyed themselves too, after a little adjustment in some cases. We had great adventures getting in - on a day when it was 97 degrees along 101 south of San Jose - and getting out, when it was 40 degrees on the north side of the road and rather wetter.
Work period is a special time at Tassajara, and I was happy to see a number of familiar faces from Aprils and Septembers past; there was a lot going on, and great energy about the place, and yesterday a real end-of-term feel, as people packed up, said goodbyes, and prepared to make way for the alumni weekend that is starting - there was an influx of other familiar faces as we set off after lunch.
Happily, I got to work with rocks, though not where I had originally thought I would. It made quite a change from being at my desk all day, and I felt physically very tired at the end of each day, which is no bad thing at all. All the group got to feel the effects of being in the mountains with few distractions and responsibilities, just focussing on the tasks in hand, and enjoying the company and the place itself.
Spring at Tassajara felt very green this year, as recent rains brought forth a profusion of flowers and leaves. I was glad that some of this comes across in the photos - this is a selection from five hundred or so that I managed to take. Okay, so maybe 22 pictures is my way of over-compensating for the lack of action this week...

An attempt at a group shot at the solar panels, which does include all of us, even if it is not a great picture

The six from Young Urban Zen descending from the solar panels

Dillon and Mike cleaning in Stone 3

Conversations in the courtyard - a cherished feature of work period

The work circle disbands

Green by the zendo

I was staying in Cabin 4, which was very sweet; this is the view across the bridge to the dorm

The dining room with added sunburst

The wisteria, which was fully blooming, frames Flag Rock

There were irises everywhere - this one by the bocce court

This one was in the lower garden

These were by the bridge

Many more columbines than there used to be - this one is below the zendo

Residents cups yesterday as the coffee-tea area was being deep cleaned

The new Torii gate, just installed on the way to the memorial site. Everyone agrees that will be much photographed.

With a few clouds in the sky, the light was a little softer midweek - this is the vew over Tassajara from the solar panels

The view in the other direction, with the retreat center in the bottom corner

This was where I spent my working week; we just had time on our last day of work to make everything look untouched.

Always looking for new angles on familiar subjects. The greens got pruned back the next day

I've done this shot before, but the red was very vivid yesterday

The new bridge was back at the end of the Flats, which people were very happy about

Again, looking for interesting angles, and helped by the light at the time


Ruth said...

All really beautiful images. Thank you for posting those, Shundo.

Djinn said...

Wow, a torii! And the bridge is back! And you were staying in the shuso's cabin! I miss Tassajara so much, it's painful and wonderful to see your photos. But great to see them.

Shundo said...

How awesome to have comments from the both of you on one post...

windhorse said...

wonderful images, Shundo, bringing Tassajara to cyberlife, vividly. thank you.

Sierra said...

Wow, the pictures definitely convey what a special place Tassajara is. I'm sure living there for an extended period of time, with no computer or cell phone distractions, getting to watch the purple Iris' bloom, would be a wonderful experience! It's now on my life to-do list:). Thank you for the post.

Shundo said...

Thanks Megan and Sierra - I hope you both get to be there someday soon.

Shonen said...

Welcome back Shundo. Sounds like Tassajara had its usual healing effect. I was hoping that the unexpectedly heavy April rains would be beneficial to Tassajara and judging by your photos, that does indeed seem to be the case. If you compare the post fire photos with the ones you just took, the transformation is remarkable.

Shundo said...

Definitely so, in both instances - it was wonderful to be there, and each time, the fire becomes less evident. There are still blackened tree trunks about the place, and the plant cover is not what it was, but it doesn't look at all bare these days.

windhorse said...

wondrous vegetation regrowth. such lush transformation since the fires left the hills so dry and naked. yes, am happily returning to Tassajara for the summer. hope to see you somewhere along the trail, city or in the valley, Shundo!

Myomon said...

I'm with Djinn: miss it so much; thanks for bringing me there.

Renshin Judy Bunce said...

Great pix Shundo. You are the best. Well, okay, you're one of the best.

I was listening to a podcast of a psychologist talking about working with rocks. He said it comes straight from Karl Jung that this is beneficial to the subconscious, and a great healing activity. I of course thought of you.

I'm glad you're leading Young Urban Dharma. Those kids are lucky to have you.

Shundo said...

Thanks Renshin, I am happy to just be half-decent. Working with rocks is definitely beneficial for me, though Jung probably wouldn't buy the way I feel about energetic connections with them.