Emerging from the dish pit, no worse for the wear

The North Fork Vipassana Meditation Center is located in the foothills of the Sierras, just south of Yosemite. Not a bad place to do a retreat. I wasn’t, in fact, sitting for this one, though, just serving. 10 straight days in the dish pit, though, was enough to leave me feeling just a bit not my self, which of course is somewhat of the point of the path of the Buddha, the no-self thing, etc. So a service retreat is sort of its own form of growing process.

We had some wacky weather: snow, sleet, heavy rains, and even a bit of thunder storm. All that plus a good soaking of sunshine. The place was starting to green up and will soon be popping with spring colors, what with the mix of rain and sunshine.


North Fork California Vipassana Center
North Fork Vipassana Center, Sierra foothills, March 2018

I’ve always been fascinated by the Manzanita trees. They have a burnt red color that is especially bright after a good rain or in the light of the sunshine, due to the waxy residue on the limbs.

Manzanita Trees - North Fork Vipassana Center
Manzanita Trees, March 2018


Manzanita Trees in the Sierras
Manzanita trees, close up


Manzanita trees black and white
Manzanita trees, controlled chaos


Selfie in North Fork California
Selfie in the foothills of the Sierras, March 2018




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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

3 thoughts on “Emerging from the dish pit, no worse for the wear”

    1. Liz, as a socialist, my ideal is to nationalize Facebook and other similar entities that are very much “public.” The idea is that social institutions work best under the democratic control of society. Facebook would work better under public control, run by the public and accountable to the public via robust democracy. This would eliminate the profit motive, which would 1) make Facebook less egregious and 2) eliminate the billions that investors are making — these profits contribute nothing to a healthy economy.

      Here’s a post I did to that effect.

      The broader issue is that it was public funding that led to the invention and development of the Internet, so in effect, we paid for the Internet twice: first with our tax dollars funding the R&D, then we gave the Internet to corporations and now we pay corporations. It’s like we socialists always say: capitalism privatizes profits but socializes the costs.

      Liked by 1 person

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