Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Rural Zen: Autumn

October Maple

I’ve been doing this Armchair Zen blog a bit over a year-and-a-half now, and it’s been a great experience so far. As so many on WordPress, Blogspot and other blogsites, my approach to blogging was that it was a way to practice writing. Organizing the actual content for an inspirational book was the lofty goal of those heady times. This has served as more of a compositional scratchpad and journal, and has helped usher along the idea and concept.

In other ways, it’s also been a great Armchair Zen lesson of its own. Trying to live and preach a detachment from the overloaded overconnectedness of our modern world is a difficult premise to present via mass media. Also, as noted in a post, there comes with blogging a certain scent, an attraction, a quality to covet that can become something of an “intellectual intoxication”, and that is, essentially, an “audience”. While the whole idea of blogging is to share your piece with “the world”, it can be titillating to find someone liking your work and responding to it. It’s a long way from the old days, when a snail-mail submission would take months to appear in print, and anyone the least bit interested in contacting the author would have to undergo a search worthy of Livingstone to find your name and address to send you a note.

Chuy. A main character on Rural Zen.

That brings us to now.  ACZ has developed a little character of its own. A certain tone and language we can recognize as familiar. A propensity to make posts worthwhile and hopefully helpful to someone seeking the famous “path”, as well as being standalone entries that address a subject without need for the context of chronology. (That’s some sweet phrasing and I’m proud of it. Of course it just means you don’t have to read all the posts in order.)

So, I’ve been working on a secret project. Okay, I guess it’s not really secret, it just exists in a different blogosphere for purposes of trying to keep ACZ true to its roots. It’s called “Rural Zen” and is self-described as existing to “share the experiences of a life lived simply and appreciated fully.” which are credited with providing  “Much of my sense of peace…drawn from living in one of the prettiest places I know.”

Frost’s road

 Two main differences between ACZ and Rural Zen. The first is that Rural Zen is a journal, and therefore chronological. In fact, the sights, sounds and smells of the changing seasons are often the highlights of entries, as that’s how the “rural” part intersects with the “zen” part. Secondly, Rural Zen is peppered with illustrations showing the places, events and characters described in the text.

 So the new challenge is to combine the best of both. Here we have a portrait of Chuy, my tireless companion, and in Circle of Seasons we see a photo of my granddaughter Elizabeth, as well as a photo from a day of ice fishing with grandson Max. The intent, as stated, is to share the experiences of a life that supports the pursuit of the path of peace.

  It just seemed that previous posts talk about the path but never show any pictures! Maybe, in a vicarious way, others can also benefit from this life “lived simply and appreciated fully”.  Sort of a modern Walden only without the isolation or the pond. And with illustrations.

Neversink waterfall

The fall season is a sensory overload, especially for someone chasing a child-like sense of wonder. In many ways it’s the prettiest season of the temperate zone, and really the shortest. It’s also the “biggest” in a way. Changes are drastic, on a daily basis. A tree that’s green one day is orange and red and yellow the next. A tree that was orange and red and green yesterday is naked today, just sticks reaching in vain toward the sky.

Grand Gorge

Searching for Red 23

The “flowers” are from a dinosaur age. A big, yellow blossom thirty feet wide and sixty feet tall! A wall of orange stretching a tenth of a mile down a treeline carpeted with green grass, their glowing golden leaves in the millions, piled two feet deep at their feet. You can look across a valley and pick out a brilliant fire-red oak, as if it was a candle on the mantle across the room.

Everywhere, the landscape changes. Tree-covered slopes now reveal rock ledges and hidden streams. There’s a pond where two weeks ago only a forest of maples could be seen.

Autumn glow

Vast, ordered rows of corn stood seven feet tall, gold hair adorning their fruits, tassels waving in the wind, where now there are vacant fields with a lone cornstalk appearing here and there, a brown, stubbled wasteland.

 
Spectrum of leaves

 And so, on to the next phase of this adventure, seeking the path of peace, and seeking to share the path with others. Here’s hoping the narrative and photos of a simple and beautiful world will help to inspire, or keep you grounded, or simply bring you a little snapshot of the peaceful path.

 

Ultimately, the peace and beauty brought to us in this world are in the eye of the beholder. The vast cosmos is filled with wonderments of all kinds, and one of the most fascinating is the human being. They’re also often overly-complicated, and tend to over-worry about things that are far from important.

Road Seven

Take time to relax, take time to wonder, and take time to drop me a line. Share your own observations, or the things that help you to pursue the path to peace in your life. Or just say hi! Let me know if you have any thoughts on the formats, old or new!

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

Comments on: "Rural Zen: Autumn" (3)

  1. Paz…we seem to be on a similar journey, but I sense yours is further along than mine as you are far more zen then I am at this point. Still..it’s wonderful to see how fate and coincidence are at work with the way our separate lives are simultaneously seeking the same things. Peace right back at you!

    • Sorry for the delay, I’ve finally formulated a response. Was thinking of using some of the subject as a post topic. In the meantime:
      Roll together your posts “My staring contest with time” and “Slow Poison”.
      My zen may be more readily accessible than yours for a couple of good reasons.
      1) Know how a computer uses memory and can only do so many things at once? Well, the human mind is the same way. During the entire time you’re raising children, a big chunk of brain is constantly engaged in that process. Conscious and sub-conscious, sleeping or awake. You know, ’cause you’re a mom. The responsibility is never out of mind. My child-raising years ended a while back, and freed up that brain space.
      2) In John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”, Ma Jode describes women’s lives as being filled with jerks (as in sudden changes of course, not annoying persons). “You get married and there’s a jerk. You have a baby and there’s another jerk.”
      Well, I’ve experienced a number of jerks that I wouldn’t wish on an enemy. In time, however, they have contributed to the advancement of my enlightenment. I’m happy for anyone that has avoided such things, even if it slows their advancement.

      Two potentially positive reasons that I may be able to access my zen more readily.
      Good fodder for a post to follow my “Maybe you’re not ready for this”.
      Entitled: “Maybe you should be glad you’re not ready for this.”

      Thanks for your kind and gracious remarks.

      Peace on, sister!

      Paz

      • I will accept either “you’re not ready for this” or “maybe you should be glad you’re not ready for this.” I have no real ego about the zen thing. I view it as a work in progress. I never actually expect to get there, but I’m walking the path nonetheless. 🙂

        Happy Wednesday!

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