The chickens have already more than quadrupled their size. We got them on the Friday of the week they were born; some only a day old. They’d been hatching for a few days and then came to the ashram. Paris, the gardener, had set up the place where they were to live during their infancy into adolescence: the front room of the summer kitchen. They’ve since grown out of it. I’ll still remember the first day I went to see them, perhaps it was even the Friday they arrived, seeing one tiny chick take a flying leap into the corner, it legs and wings stretched out, and then remain in that position, settled in for a nice nap under the heat lamp. Baby things. What it is about small things that will soon become larger than so draws humans?
They have become larger. They’ve grown too much that, among other reasons, they’ve needed to move out of their first room, their nursery. The room that basks in the afternoon sun and plateau’s over the meadow’s fabulous view of the lake and mountain range, the room that I have now moved into. The accommodations team made sure to clean it well (like everything done here at the ashram, with meticulous quality and awareness) and I have settled into my fabulous new space. It has an interesting mix of solitude and conspicuousness. The solitude I love, it was one of the reasons I wanted the place to begin with. I’m the only person in the building, I don’t share walls with anyone, and I can talk to myself as loudly as I want. It’s great. Another great thing is the balcony that again, overlooks that amazing view. The very same view that would stop me in my tracks the first four months I spent here and, who am I kidding, still can two years later. An added dimension of the balcony is that it’s just above the main walkway of the ashram. All of the comings and goings move past me as I sit up there, strumming a tune on my guitar, reading a book or reflecting in my journal. It strikes me how those three actions form the bulk of how I spend my free time. Though, of course, there’s also going for walks, chanting or meditating in a prayer room, or sitting at the beach and simply watching the water.
There I sit, on the public side of the wall that makes up my solitary space, and I’m confronted with some interesting personality aspects. Sometimes parts of me want to be in my own space in a completely private way, perhaps with a view of the forest like a room I had last year and its balcony blurred from the view of other’s eyes, exposed only to the deer and the trees. But that’s not where I am, I’m sitting on my deck in complete view of anyone that walks by. It would be more than easy to go inside and retain my privacy. It would also be more than easy to walk around the building and find solace in the mossy forest up the hill. I can do those things and, at times, I do but the other day during my lunch break I was indulging in the fact that I now live closer to the main building and can easily go to my room during my lunch break. I pulled out my notebook and sat on the weathered planks, my back resting against the old wooden siding. All around me people were walking past, like the bees that we got last week, busily buzzing in their own ways. I realized as I sat there that some people would love this balcony’s location no matter what mood they were in. Some people would love the opportunity to socialize with anyone that happened to walk past, making the same joke or the same comments on the weather. Sometimes that person is me and I’ll sit on that balcony, engaging with the world that goes by. If my guitar is keeping me company I might add to a song to the person walking past, “shouldn’t you be serendaing me?” And sometimes, more often, the person I am is much more content serenading the chipmunks in the forest, or listening to the endless waves lapping the lakeshore, content in my solitude yet deeply engaged in a different sort of conversation.