Thursday, November 15, 2012

Northwest Vipassana Center to Seattle

on the east coast it was not such a good apple year, but back in the NW it was! as i rode through this rural area i passed by many apple trees on the side of the road. from those that looked obviously neglected i harvested some, filling the last bit of space in my luggage.

at a produce stand in a big gravel lot where two main roads intersect i stop for a drink of water. i follow my impulse to connect with the vendor and put out the positive vibes. he is a really nice guy who has been doing this for many years. he is happy about the big truck he recently got a good deal on at auction. friends of his are farmers in eastern washington and sell him this produce cheaply that he then drives over here to the west side to sell. he gives me sample slices of the honey crisp and pink lady apples, and upon farewell he gives me two oranges.

soon i arrive at the home of the folks i visited fifteen months ago, at the beginning of the trip. the veggie-table ultra still stands by the road in their front yard. there are some new plantings and generous mulching (such wisdom) in front of the house, where i am told someone made a mess of tire tracks. they turned that negative right around and now have some food-bearing plants where there was only lawn before.
the husband was off at work, so i visited with the wife and their two lovely children. the son is just learning to talk and kept telling me 'no'. he needed a nap, and fell asleep at the table while eating a grilled cheese sandwich. i stayed awake throughout the tastey experience. her home-made bread, a recipe from nourishing traditions, was wonderfully moist, lofty, and flavorful. we talked about many things and i sang a couple of songs for them. i was in heaven!
i let hannah know that i would love to come help out in the garden if i was around in the spring. she said they have considered having an intern, but don't know where to house them. we also talked about the option of having young folks from the area come to work and learn about this kind of life. possibilities...
they have two goats now in addition to the four sheep. it is becoming a quite intensive little farm!

no luck hitching first spot in chehalis, but a latino family in a pickup donates $10. next entrance north on I-5 i get a ride with a man who does horse-shoing. his sister knows a thing or two about meditation, there are prayer beads hanging from mirror. she is in thailand. he offers a place to stay and ride the next day to Oly, where he will be going for work. we decide to check out the train option and i decide to take it because the fare is not too much (the donation helps!). i give him one of the apples, he gives me a knot-work bracelet.

i ask a woman and use her cell phone to call my folks in seattle to let them know i am on my way. this is the kind of thing i often overlook, but i know they appreciate. my dad insists on picking me up at the train station. i had imagined riding up the hill to the house, but i surrender to his kind gesture, as i know it will make him happy. i tell this woman a bit about the HOOP TOUR and she seems to dig the idea of the 'economy of generosity'. she accepts one of the apples i harvested. when we get on the train she helps me with my bags! later she serves me a cup of green tea! this contagious spirit of connection and generosity really brings me joy and i put some of that energy into writing a letter.

when my father picks me up at the station i know the HOOP TOUR has finally come to an end. the magic will surely continue to unfold in my life, and the love never stops arrising, if i can just ramain aware of it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

spokane to NW vipassana center

Hoop Rider had been happily stranded in spokane for two additional nights at the home of ran prieur after two days of attempting to hitch a ride to the final destination of the HOOP TOUR, the NW Vipassana Center. the thought had crossed his mind that there might be a rideshare to the course, which are arranged through a rideshare board hosted by the center, but he thought it unlikely that he could find another server coming from spokane who could get him there early on the first day, before students arrived. when it looked unlikely that hitching would get him there on time, he had sent an e-mail to the center letting them know. in response he was told about a student coming from montana who was offering a ride! Hoop made the phone call and all was soon arranged.

the drive followed the route that Hoop Rider had imagined he would hitch-bike. this was from spokane to yakima, then taking highway 12 over White Pass to the west side of the Cascades. the conversation in the car flowed energetically, with a few breaks of peaceful silence. Hoop Rider shared the food he had brought, including a really good organic granny smith apple grown in washington recently and some of the last bag of Loki salmon jerkey. Kent, the driver, gave Hoop the last of his grass-fed steak leftovers.
Hoop was glad to meet another guy excited about working with nature through gardening, and doing inner, spiritual work through vipassana meditation. Kent lives on twenty acres in rural montana. his house is small and without electricity.

the center welcomed Hoop with comforting familiarity. there were some familiar faces there to greet him as well. of the eight other servers, two were people he had met previously on the HOOP TOUR! one of them was a young man named andrew who had been the course manager of the one Hoop had sat in Georgia. he had traveled by bicycle, following a similar route, and arrived at this center a bit earlier. hoop was excited to see him and both promised to share details of their experience when there was time.
the other familiar server was reintroduced as This. she had gone by a different name when Hoop had met her outside the natural food cooperative in New Orleans. she was one of the ones in the spontaneous song circle! it was such a surprise to see her that he didn't recognize her at first. she said that she'd been inspired through meeting Hoop to go to her first vipassana course. since then she had served and sat others.
what a happy convergence of meditating travelers!
another server he was happy to see was joe, who had served the first course Hoop sat back in 2010. joe's spirit was one that Hoop had felt a strong resonation with each time he had seen him since then. he had also been around when Hoop served the course at the beginning of the trip. he was the facilities manager for much of his long-term service. the kind of leadership joe offered as the kitchen manager of this course was flexible and loving. he did not seem to allow his reactive mind to get in the way of his heart very often.