Successful meditation workshop

Nice cushions, actually.

At first I thought they were too high and hard, but now I’m thinking they are just right and actually – now that I’ve been sitting here for a while – like 3 hours so far – with some walking meditation in between; like it hasn’t been three hours straight, but since we started, earlier today, around 10:30, after the talk, an hour and a half before lunch and then here it is, 3 pm already, we had lunch from 12 noon to 1:30, so it’s 3pm and that means its been three hours solid meditation, not all of it on the cushion like I said, but some of it walking as well, so three hours, three solid hours meditating – or is it later than that, which might mean over three hours actual sitting meditation and my hips and sitz bones are fine, my lower back is fine – it’s important to keep the correct posture, which reminds me to elevate my crown a wee bit, expand my ribs and open my heart, just a little, towards the sky.

Yes, at first I thought the cushions were too high, and frankly I wasn’t a fan of their boxiness; they’re rectangular shaped, about 8 inches tall, say 18 inches by 12, or thereabouts; i dint’ know what that would be in metric, i’m just used to imperial measurements – not that I’m a fan of imperialism, i just do some rough carpentry, i’ve had to, i’ve had to learn how to living in an old house with some outbuildings which is a farmerly way to say garage with collapsing attached wood shed off the back which we tore all down but not before replacing the roof of the shed as it had turned to soil for the most part or where it hadn’t there were large and ever enlarging holes frankly; what i mean is the roof was caving in here and there you see, and where it wasn’t caving in it was turning to soil from all the leaves and twigs that had fallen onto the roof over the years.

Naomi and I, that was our first foray into rough carpentry and having to figure out stuff – rough stuff, carpentry stuff; tearing down the old collapsing roof and cleaning up and putting in new roof boards; now there’s a story: they totally upsold us on the roofing material, selling us three-quarter ply when all you really need, as everyone knows, is five-eighths oriented strand board, or OSB, much cheaper, lighter and just as strong as you need it for the roof of a wood shed particularly if that shed is only going to be standing for another year or two before you tear it all down – and the garage it was attached to – during what you called your honeymoon when you built the studio of your dreams or at least Naomi’s dreams and it was worth it, all of it, and that’s really where I learned rough carpentry in earnest and let me tell you it was pretty rough here and there as I often approach new things thinking I should be an expert in them which is folly surely, so i’d get mad, and curse, and kick things like the tin eavestroughing and make a proper mangle out of it, a rough job to be sure

Now that I’m good and settled on this supportive and accommodating cushion, described earlier, I turn my mind to the rough carpentry projects that lie eagerly in wait, chief among them new front steps or really they should be described as cascading platforms that ascend to the porch or descend to the ground – i’ll have to clear the old crumbling patio stones that are there currently, old river stones, flat stones ill suited to the job at least to the location as they’ve been crumbling since the day we put them there, i can’t remember if we harvested them from the river nearby near where that fool put up a sign on a twenty foot link of chain in front of the river off the side of the road: private property: which was and is remains quite hilarious because it’s nothing of the kind – a series of cascading platforms two by six boxes really with again two by six across the tops laid out like decking with the long edge facing the person as they ascend the cascade to the porch – i’ve been trying to figure out whether each platform should be eight or six or four feet long and i find myself after much deliberations settling on six to overlap them a foot apiece; of course it’s tricky see because you have a wider platform across the top that pretty much abuts the porch – one step down – and it’s either eight feet or likely six feet wide and perhaps three or four feet deep; the next step down, or platform, is perhaps four feet wide and here’s where it gets six feet long, tucked under the topmost platform a foot, followed by the next step down which is likewise six feet long but might in fact be a little shorter say three or three point five feet (to mix my imperial with my metric) on account of the encroaching creeping thyme on one side and an erstwhile herb garden on the other – and in fact the whole cascading platforms relationship to the gardens (let alone to the front of the house generally) has to be properly thought through;

So that there is a flow, say the topmost platform is eight feet long, I could cut the outermost corners into an angle to convey a widening out to the porch edge which could correspond nicely with the lowermost platform; or step four on the descent, step one on the ascent; which itself note will be made from two by four with two by six decking on top like the others to create an overall lower profile so that the initial step – again, taking it from the ascent side of things – is easier to navigate on what is really quite uneven ground – and it’s the uneven nature of the ground that causes me to realize that i really must prepare the site adequately on this job; this is no twenty minute david robbins special; this will be the better part of a day (and there is so much else to do) plus of course the prep and the acquisition of the materials – and here’s where i really need to drill down and get on my estimate hat and cost this out; i initially told naomi it would be around $100 but really it will be closer to two hundred – for lumber, pressure treated; for a few square foot patio stones for foundation; for a new big box of deck screws come to think of it – and then there’s a special lighting system i’ve been eyeing, it would be so swish to insert flat lights in the part of the stair facing you as you approach, or tack up outdoor rope lights and give the entire cascade of floating platforms their own underfoot lighting to enhance the experience and the safety of those ascending.

whereas the first step also fans out wider and has its corners cut to mimic the top platform so that the entire construction, looked upon from above, would resemble say an arch of some kind or a pillar more accurately with a thick pedestal, a somewhat thinner midsection and then a thick crown.

Or of course the entire outline of the thing could be more organic to completely mimic or trace the contours of the gardens on either side, which would be lovely, or could be made to be lovely, in the hands of someone more skilled than i with the jig saw who can deliver fine swoops and clean edges and i am not confident in my ability to deliver said, having more affinity for rough carpentry: floating square or rectangular platforms: that’s more my thing, and there is a simple elegance to this design, i love clean boxy shapes that have some kind of relationship to the grounds around them yet stand or hover above them making no apology for their angularity, in fact i find them quite humane in their function and their strength – i consider myself something of an eco-brutal-modernist and invite form into nature without dictating terms and not necessarily crossing evert T or dotting every I along the way.

The foundation is key. I mentioned earlier the preparation of the site and there is simply no escaping that reality, it’s a jumble of uneven ground, weedy growth, cedar chips, crumbling river flat stones, low lying pockets and pools of low lying very natural of course land – all of this begging me to clean it all away, the old steps, the stones, the growth, and lay into it with a yard or so of what they call stone dust – crushed gravel and stone typically no larger than three quarter inch (imperially speaking) that, due to its varied sizes, nicely settles into a compact and sturdy base layer – it’s on this material i would settle some patio stones upon which i would create an impossibly strong post and beam support structure for steps two, three and four using old six by six posts custom cut to height with same across them as the post; entire span of which would match the platform above it just so – and forgive me but this would be ridiculously sexy in my humble opinion: a series of cascading platforms that seem to hover above the ground and are s-o-l-i-d.

Like this cushion.

The bell rings. it’s time for walking meditation, which is nice, because my foot is afuckingsleep.