I took the west trail into a neighboring little town. It's an eleven mile trek and the nearest place to restock. It's almost all uphill and reveals the greatest variety of New England rocks that I have ever wittnessed in one place. A few towering boulders stand alone and were reported to be meeting places and points of reference for the local Indian tribes. The day was unusally warm and I paced my breath with my stride.
The sudden movement on my right side startled me and caught my breath. In an unconscious move, I felt myself position my body in a defensive posture as if ready to engage the unexpected, whatever that may be. Instantly, I relaxed when it proved to be an elderly man, perhaps in his seventies.

"Christ! Didn't expect to see anyone out here," he yelled. He explained that he was out setting up his tree stand for the upcoming deer hunting season. When we realized that we were going in the same direction, we fell in stride together.

We had some good conversation and yet he never asked me what I was doing out so far from the town. He talked more than I did as he had more to say. I liked him. I liked his view of hunting. He was the real deal. Not like the LL Bean yuppie crowd that just wanted the experience of deer hunting. No, the hunt has always been a part of his life, his culture, his heritage. He often went alone. The hunt, for him, was part of the spiritual cycle of man; the hunter, who gave thanks for the gift provided; the hunter and the hunted.

I understood. So would have the true natives of this land so long perished.

I began to think of my latest posts and communications with some Buddhists about prayer. What would many of them think about this guy? I do not desire to be divisive. Divisiveness needs no help from me, no! There are spiritual adherents of every walk who believe things. Buddhists don't pray; don't eat meat; would not hunt, etc....and wear it upon their hat as a badge of merit. Of course, there are those that don't pray, don't eat meat, and would never hunt, and fully realize that that is their life's call. Not the call of everyone else around them.

It is a problem trying to find answers through some of these issues in a public forum. Some in Zen may look askew at someone in say, Pure Land; and this just should not be so. So I don't get disappointed when everyone takes a wide berth around such topics.

I had another go at lentil soup. I did add a carrot as Mark D. Shellhammer suggested, to cut down on gas. Sorry, Mark. Not sure if it worked, as I had to eat the carrot!


Loralee Choate said…
You never know what gem you will stumble on walking down the path. Yours sounds like a rare kind.
Who was it that said " My family hates it when I am being a Buddhist, but they love me when I am a Buddha"

About the carrot, I thought it might seem wasteful to throw it out, I read that in a cookbook somewhere :0)