Monday, May 22, 2006

Zen and Creepy Crawlies

I just got back from a Boston Knit-Out meeting. Thanks to everyone who came! You are a great bunch and it is a pleasure working with you!

For those of you who don’t know, I practice Zen Buddhism. I’m a member of the Cambridge Zen Center, which is part of the Kwan Um School of Zen. One of the things Buddhists like to do is go on retreat. Retreats in my school can be anywhere from one day to three months long. I did a one-day retreat Sunday up at the Open Meadow Zen Group in Lexington. This is a new group that was started up by one of the guiding teachers at CZC. He has a place up there and he’s converted the barn into a little Zen center.
The dharma room it is light and sunny with lots of birds singing in the trees. It is really an inspiring place to sit. I forgot my camera or I’d have gotten some pictures. Maybe next time.
In our school, we don’t sit right through for hours at a time. We sit for about 30 minutes then walk around the dharma room for 10 minutes. It is interesting to translate what you were doing sitting into motion. It also gives the blood a chance to run back into your legs. That’s one of the things I like about this school. They are realistic about what the average person can be expected to do physically.
A lot of retreats also include a long walk. Mark (the Zen Master)’s land is right next to preserve land so the OMZG takes its long walks there. I was a little leery about this. I am one of those people that bugs just LOVE. I have always maintained that it is because I am juicy and delicious. I’m the one that you want to take camping with you because I’ll attract the bugs to me and they’ll leave everyone else alone. I also have a fear of ticks. I asked Mark about this and he assured me that the paths were nice and wide and that we weren’t going to be walking through a lot of tall grass. Feeling confident, I, of course, wore the worst possible pants I could have, all wide legged and floppy. This was a mistake. Over the course of the walk, I managed to pick up not one but three ticks!! I didn’t find the last one until it had actually started to bite me! Fortunately, they were wood ticks and not deer ticks but even so. Gnnnaahhhh! It took a lot of the fun out of the retreat and I felt distinctly un-Buddhist when I was killing the little bastards. I don’t really like killing bugs but if you are going to bite me and then suck my blood, you’re pretty much getting what’s coming to you. BTW, I'm the only one that got ticks on me. I am the juiciest tidbit after all. Or maybe they just smelled the fear.

I would put another UFO but I can't seem to get blogger to upload pictures today. Maybe tomorrow. Happy knitting!


Rosemary said...

I could challenge you as a tick attractor. They've always loved me more than anyone else around. I'm not sure I want to go into the woods with you to test this though--we'd proabably both lose.

Anonymous said...

maybe knitters have some attractive pheromone re: insects. I have that problem, and I also draw smoke from fires (when you sit in a circle, it inevitably blows my way.

Lucy said...

There are going to be serious measures taken then next time I venture into that reserve land. Measures involving pants tucked into socks and lots and lots of bug spray.
Isn't it annoying being a bug attractor among non-bug attractors? They just don't get it and think you are big wimp!

Anonymous said...

Wait, isn't knitting naturally Buddhist-- without adding any extra meditation to the mix?

Katie said...

Gah! I hate ticks. J. and I were hiking in Colorado, and I found a reddish Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (of R.M. Spotted Fever fame) on me. I didn't know if it had bitten me or not, so I put it in one of our translucent film canisters that we use for lots of small things (like matches that don't want to get wet while camping). I figured that if I came down with a fever, I could take the tick with me to the hospital for identification/testing. I was entertained my "my pet tick" in the film canister, and would check on it every once in a while to watch it crawl around. The next morning, I picked up the canister, and it was filled to the top with red ticks! I thought they had hatched overnight, and in my horror I threw the canister across the room. J. went and got the container, and asked me why I had thrown the matches across the room. Damn the person who invented red match heads.

Katie said...

For the record, panicked == Katie H.

Lucy said...

OMG, that's so funny! I would have done the same thing! Remind me to tell you the tarantula story from the spinlist sometime.