The mountains after the fire


In San Diego, I had experience the doubt, didn’t know if I should return to Yokoji or if I should keep going in my trip. I’ve decided to come back, see how they were there, how was the Zen Center and the mountains. Share the present, that could be happy or sad, the destruction of trees or the rebirth of ferns.

The burned mountains has a strange beauty. It is possible to see details of relief, shades of ochre and brown, the drawing of the twigs. The fire can be destruction or transformation. I have learned a lesson from history of architecture that the skyscrapers were born of the great fire that burned the city of Chicago in the late 19th century and the need to rebuild the city quickly. If that fire hadn’t happened, perhaps the face of the big cities of today would be another, but how to know it? Is it luck or is bad luck?

Yokoji did not burn, but a mud slides came and the instability of the soil made the Zen Center be on stand by, will be able to continue there? Or the mountains without trees are no longer a save place? On the other hand, they had a lot of help, people around the world by making donations, other zen centers collaborating and the sanga present.
What will happen with Yokoji Zen Mountain Center? The impermanence felt on the skin, on the ground and in the air.

I was happy to be back there, even if only for a week. I was able to say the goodbye that the fire had ceased. I could take out my sheets and put them to wash, tidying up my room for the next guest. During the 3 months that I was there, I did this for the people who came to spend the weekend. Now I was a guest who was leaving.


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