Yesterday I was lucky enough to get out of my cave cubicle in the Tricycle office and travel to Garrison, New York to the Grist Mill, where Bonnie Myotai Treace leads retreats for the Hermitage Heart sangha. Garrison is a 90-minute train ride straight up the Hudson River from New York City. The Grist Mill, pictured below from across the mill pond, is within easy walking distance of the train station. The Hudson Valley is so beautiful it seems odd that is so close to the city. In the morning when I woke up in Brooklyn it was warm and sticky, the air heavy and still. In Garrison it was cool, breezy and clear.
I was there with videographer and friend of Tricycle Denise Petrizzo. Our mission was to film the first part of a teaching by Myotai that will appear on Tricycle.com in July as our Tricycle Retreat, "Whole Life Offering." Arriving early Tuesday morning, Denise and I walked around the mill, which is tucked into a deep green wood full of streams, ponds, and small rocky waterfalls. A few feet into the woods at the beginning of our walk, we startled two fawns and were too slow to catch them on camera. Stupidly I didn't take any photos.
When you have a video camera to worry about, sometimes you slip on the small stuff like still photography. Myotai later told us a story about the late John Daido Loori Roshi, who was famous for his love of photography and fostering creativity in his students. He would send his photography students out on long walks by Zen Mountain Monastery and tell them to take just one picture! They must have come back having seen so much more, searching the landscape intently for that one perfect shot! Daido's birthday was June 14th. (Two pieces by Myotai appeared in the Spring 2010 Tricycle: "The Sword Disappears in the Water," and a remembrance of Daido, "Being Love by Loving.")