Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Chopping wood, carrying bricks...

Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.
– Wu Li

We have lots to do in our new home. Even though my experience of gardening is close to zero, I've decided to build a Japanese style garden in the back. There was a gnarly tree against the back fence which consisted of some sort of climbing plant overgrown with ivy and entwined with the fence.

I was tempted to keep it because it had character, but it was quite ugly and dominated the whole space, so I chopped it down. Actually it was so entwined with the fence that I had to dismantle it piece by piece. It took a surprising amount of work, but I found it really satisfying. It was nice to be outside doing simple physical tasks - certainly it seemed less like 'work' than sitting in front of a computer designing graphics and web sites. It got me thinking - I'm sure I feel far less 'alienated' than I once did - both socially and existentially. It's hard to know how much of that is down to maturity and finally meeting someone who was right for me and how much of it is down to Zen.

Perhaps I'll post some photos of the garden as it evolves.

Emily's brother Guy was here with his little daughter. He's just split up with his wife, so we were consoling him and he was helping us with the house. It's a real shame because he's a really nice guy. His wife has bi-polar disorder - and she blames her inability to find happiness largely on her husband, in spite of him bending over backwards to try to please her.

Apparently he came away with the impression that we live a really 'wholesome' life. Emily baking in the kitchen with Guy's daughter and me chopping down trees and practicing Zen. If only they knew...

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