It is always interesting to watch our expectations get confounded. This was my last weekday morning sitting in the ino seat in the zendo, so I wanted it to be a nice calm and spacious time. Instead, my alarm clock didn't go off, so I was a little groggy and rushed, the emergency light right above my head in the zendo started to flash in an unusual way, there was a smoke detector beeping periodically in the hallway somewhere, and I was handed a note that the shoten wasn't feeling well, so I had to think about a replacement.
It was also my last time bringing out the tsui-ching. Naturally I was thinking back to my first time with it, when we entered Liping as the shuso (I wasn't writing the blog then, but I reflected on it a year later). Today as well I reminded myself not to be in a rush, as we said goodbye to Konin (not for the first time, as I find this, looking for the other posts I am linking to, which also has a fuller description of the ceremony). She being quite adept, we had not discussed the form for the ceremony ahead of time, and I noticed I was a little disappointed when I came back round to the tsui-ching after the jundo to find she had turned to face Blanche. Normally, making the announcement face to face is the strongest part of the ceremony for me. My voice, which can range between fierce (my impression anyway) and soft (how I remember it with Roxie, for instance), seemed plain straight-forward this time. Vicki asked the questions, which Konin handled deftly, and Blanche gave the stirring goodbyes for us.
Senior staff were scheduled to have lunch together today, to mark the dissolution of this particular incarnation with its built-in European majority - we were saying goodbye to Konin, Rose the tenzo, who is going back to Switzerland for a year to be a grandmother, and myself. Luckily, we avoided any embarrassing speechifying, and just got to enjoy the good food and the good company.