Tassajara Stories


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last edit 9-22


Their laughter was a frequent ingredient of the Tassajara scene. Mainly they were doing what was expected but sometimes they'd stray from the tracks and even in zazen their jubilant voices would occasionally filter in from afar, climbing in a hill or naked in the creek. Dianne and her friend Margaret had been so naughty together that fall, that they were asked to skip the next practice period that ran for ninety days from January to mid April. Dan Welch had taken Dianne for a walk and told her and she cried.

I was not pleased when I learned. I wanted Dianne there. It was exactly the same decision that had come down on Bob and me the year before with what seemed to me to be the same ridiculous logic. Except in time I'd learn it wasn't logic, it was Suzuki's soft heart. He didn't want to separate Bob and me or Dianne and Margaret because we were so close. That was also ridiculous.

I got a letter from Dianne. She and Margaret had hung out together for a while in the city and Margaret had gone to Maryland to be with relatives. Dianne was lonely.

Then about three days into the practice period, she showed up. People were surprised. I was worried she'd just come in on her own but nope, Peter knew she was coming. Silas had called.

I didn't have a chance to talk to her till after evening zazen. We went to our favorite tryst spot if Suzuki wasn't there and he wouldn't be for a few days - his cabin. We talked and talked. Then we stopped talking but didn't sleep. Poor thing. I'd just come out of a day of the initiatory tangaryo and she had to do that all day the next day. We weren't asleep when the wake up bell rang. Absence made our hearts so fond she had a difficult groggy day and fasted so she'd not be so sleepy. I just would have slept while sitting on the zafu - but that's not so comfortable for a lot of people. "Sorry," I said to her that night when it was over. She didn't respond, just trudged to her room and sleeping bag on futon.

As for what I'd gathered in the early conversational part of the night before, she'd gone to see Suzuki. He'd asked how she was doing. She said she was very unhappy and missed Margaret and hated the city and wanted to go to Tassajara, that the problem had been her and Margaret together. "She's on the East Coast. Why can't I go back?"

Suzuki asked, "Why do you want to go to Tassajara?"

Her answer: "Because I've never seen the creek in the winter."

That was good enough for him. "The best thing is to give an animal lots of room," he said, "So I'll do the same for you."


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