This is Ashley, the new ALT from Seattle. She just moved into the apartment below me. My job (and way to serve love) now includes training this beautiful new teacher, and I am thrilled. Interestingly, Ashley didn't know how to ride a bike before coming to Niihama, where bikes are a necessity. Mark and Jessica helped teach her a bit before they left, and I have been helping her with balance and braking, I hope. It's tough, though. Have you ever taught someone how to ride a bike? Today Ashley mentioned how she really appreciates this "new freedom." And yeah, I guess it really is a new freedom, like driving a car is at first. Unfortunately, her calves have been repeatedly stabbed by the gear spokes and are bruised all over. Riding a bike is dangerous! I think I'm going to loan her my helmet until she gets her own.
On Sunday Ashley, Mark, Chris, Takashi, Ma and I drove up to Imabari to meet Emily and Darin at the fireworks festival. Outside the car window, in the distance, Mt. Ishizuchi stood blue and crunchy. I love the shape of that mountain!
This is Scottish Chris Summerfield, a musician and powerful light living in Saijo. He is a good, good friend.
Yesterday, riding home from the Post Office, I was filled with all these stressful thoughts and feelings (I had a lot of stuff to do I didn't really want to and I had a little amount of time to do it in) and all of that adds up to a bunch of silly time-created, self-absorbed bull-poo, but nonetheless it sometimes comes into the interior life like a thunderstorm, and so I was in a head storm like that when I rode past a dead cicada. Right now, in the heart of summer, they fill the trees and soundwaves, and are dropping dead like flies everywhere. This one's wing and twisted neck stunned me into slow motion and a light, creative flow state. Suddenly the wall and weeds and wind around me came into focus, and I remembered the truth: Life is fleeting. My head became clear and filled with bright clouds, and I vowed to paint that death omen and untouched wing. I can hear my mother now: "Not another dead animal painting!"
And here is Megan and Ty sitting inside the temple "Immeasurable Light" at which we slept during our stay in Mt. Koya. There was a little puppy that lived there and ran madly through the finely raked zen garden everyday. You can see her prints in this picture. Fantastic!
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