It’s almost a year since I went to the Vipassana meditation retreat. Ten days of living like a monk, rising at 4am, 12 hours of meditating each day, chants in ancient tongues lasting hours, the earth in midwinter.
I’m recalling today a phenomenon that started on day 5 or 6. On walking up the hill to meditation hall, one would see people prop suddenly. One off there to the side, another up there on the hill facing elsewhere. Each brought up short by wonder, seeing something as if for the first time: a bush, a bird, a pebble, a cloud. As the days passed, the hill became dotted with people gazing at the world in a blade of grass.
I’m recalling a day of sun and coming down the hill to see a woman asleep against a tree, ruddy cheeks, rough boots, the face of a honest peasant resting after the wheat harvest.
I’m recalling the trills of electricity, great riffing sweeps of pleasure, coursing through my body like they did when I was a child, and which I’d forgotten to miss.
Images: Autumn watercolours in my street today
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