"Surfing and climbing are both useless sports. You get to be conquistadors of the useless. You climb to the summit and there is nothing there. And you could hike to the top from another direction. How you get there is the important part. It's the same with surfing." - Yvon Chouinard
It's the same, I would add, with zazen. A useless activity. That is not to say that it does not have merit. In fact, it's merit lies in its very uselessness.
Having said that, today is jump day - the day of my vacation when I get to fly from Atlanta to the frigid latitudes of Manchester, New Hampshire for a few days. Actually, the forecast for the week (mostly rainy, highs in the mid 50s, lows in the low 40s) is exactly what we're having right now in Atlanta, although I expect the temperatures to have a bit more "bite" to them there than they do here. I will be staying at my sister's house in Methuen, Massachusetts and spending the Thanksgiving holiday there with her and her husband and our mother.
Eliot the cat is in a kennel for the week while I'm away - his first experience with that. While it seems kinder than leaving him home alone and unattended for five days, I don't think he's going to like the experience.
Yesterday, I tried an experiment and let him use the trap door for the first time since I shut it down last spring. I figured that with autumn here, there was less prey for him to drag back into the house, but within 90 minutes of letting him out, he "rewarded" me by bringing a live chipmunk into the house, which immediately escaped and hid in my shoe closet. I flushed it out with a broom and chased it out an open door, and shut the trap door again.
Which reminds me that my experiment with vegetarianism is continuing, although with occasional lapses. I ate a chicken sandwich for lunch one day last week as I rushed from one meeting to the next, with little time to seek out vegetarian fare. Old habits die hard. And I cleaned my refrigerator out of the remaining two meals that contained some chicken. After all, I reasoned, the chickens have already been killed - wouldn't it be even worse to then throw away the meal that they died to provide for me? And last Friday, I shared in the office Thanksgiving meal, so as not to insult their effort in putting the feast together. That might sound like a lot of back-sliding and it may be, but all my other meals over the past 12 days have been meat-free and my refrigerator is now devoid of any further temptation, although I will be eating turkey over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Impermanence is everywhere: I see that I have now used up 20% of my Blogger file capacity. Since that 20% has lasted me for 5 years, at this rate, I will have to stop blogging in 20 years (should I live so long). However, it was not until relatively recently that I started posting large-megabyte videos, so my burn rate over the past year has been quite a bit higher than before. I may have only 10 years left to this blog. Although even that seems far off, and it is, the finite capacity is a reminder that everything eventually comes to an end, and that I should use the remaining file capacity wisely and say only that which needs to be said (whatever that is).