In local news, Joe, my across-the-street neighbor, celebrated his birthday Friday. It was also the day on which he chose to make his retirement official. Yesterday, a yellow-and-white-striped tent was set up in Joe's backyard and there were balloons on the front stoop. I thought perhaps Joe was having a party to celebrate the milestones in his life, but it turned out to be a baby shower for his unmarried daughter Kimberly who is as pregnant as a salmon.
With her cochlear implant, Kimberly was a large part of the reason Joe moved to Northampton so many years ago: He wanted her to go to what was once called The Clark School for the Deaf (it has a fancier name now ... something with "hearing-impaired" in it, I think), which is one of the premier schools for those with hearing problems. The school is free to city residents.
Now, it is so many years later, Kimberly is self-involved and in her young twenties, and Joe decided to retire ... on his birthday. I sort of hoped the yellow-and-white-striped tent might be for Joe, but that's not how it goes for parents. Joe ordered a roast pig for the festivities and the street was choked with parked cars. As a devoted Christian, I hope Joe's faith carried him through the festivities.
Also yesterday, my karmic tail came around and bit me on the ass when I got a call from a woman who is snooping the edges of Buddhism. She had had a pretty firm practice for a while -- done some Vipassana retreats, checked out Shambhala -- but then things had fallen away as she cared for her aging father. Now she was resnooping the spiritual terrain and thought perhaps Zen might assist her attempts to get back on a more disciplined track. She is new in town, taking a break in work as a photo-journalist, and will come here this morning. My fluttery school-girl heart would like her to be happy, but what the hell can I possibly do about that? Funny how, just about the time I think I can kick back and let the river go by, some small wet wave washes up over my trousers.
The teacher is coming! The teacher is coming! And I am still capable of the kind of dither anyone might experience at a pig roast.
As a practical matter, the advent of a visitor made me go out and clean the zendo, much to the dismay of the spiders in residence. Every once in a while, something good arises out of 'goodness.' I did promise the spiders not to trouble them again any time soon.