Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Few Things I've Observed in My First 10 Days at the Monastery

The mind can be both dull and agitated at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The more you find it annoying when someone suggests a better way of doing something, the more your ego is getting in the way.

Living in a community, people will be full of suggestions about better ways of doing just about everything.

On your day off, if a local tells you that a certain hiking destination in the mountains is 3 hours away, assume that it will take you 5 hours to get there. (At 4 hours, you might begin to realize this, and turn back.)

Black Brook, where I stopped to have lunch (a little over 2 hours of mountain trekking away from the monastery). To continue hiking towards the elusive Pollets Cove, I had to take off my boots and socks and wade through the frigid water. Those are small icebergs floating offshore where Black Brook empties into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Physical labor can help clear the mind.

Moose poop comes in two varieties: pellets and patties. (Why? Does it depend on what they ate?) Sometimes the two will appear right next to each other.

Photo: The two varieties of moose poop. Left: patties. Right: pellets.

Fox poop, on the other hand, is small, black and shiny. Sometimes a fox will sniff around another animal's poop (such as that of a moose) and add his contribution to the pile.

Crows and other birds actually make an audible noise every time they flap their wings. It's so quiet up here sometimes, you can hear birds flying. (On the other hand, when it's this quiet, the tinnitus in my ears seems to grow louder, filling up the available space. Perhaps the noise in my mind is doing the same.)

One would logically assume that sitting still and being silent for 3 hours, breathing naturally and resting one's mind, would be easier than hiking up a densely wooded mountain for 3 hours. The opposite is sometimes true.


Stephen said...

Happy Sunday!
(and watch where you step)

Anonymous said...

"Physical labor can help clear the mind." Dennis you've changed so much already, LOL! Im enjoying the blog. Enjoy the journey.

Rachel from GW