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a letter from jaya newsletter october 2010

A recent cancellation leaves the sweet, rustic cottage available from October onwards.

Gemmaji and I are happy to welcome one or two people for winter retreat here. For the first time Gemmaji will be here the whole winter, and I will be here much of the time as well.

Please email us if you are interested.

At Dharmaloca every day I have the chance to experience: "everything is alive."

Yesterday, Gyan and I were harvesting dark pink-speckled green beans from a tangle on the garden fence. Suddenly, a leaf was not a leaf. Its triangular head swiveled to look at us.

Gyan and I keep coming upon long, leaf-colored praying mantises in the garden. Gyan and I gaze back at them, from a "safe" meter away.

When I was little, my parents bought papery brown mantis egg cases from the Hasting's Garden Center--these insects then grew up to be a natural protection for our plants.

I often kept a light on at night as a child, and once in that dusky light, I held the gaze of a huge mantis in an upper corner of the bedroom for long enough to forge a bond. Was it a dream? I remember the awe--awful, awesome--and what remains with me even today when I see a mantis is: protection, in spite of fears.

One sunrise-colored rose here at Dharmaloca has already survived the weedeater, rhizomic grass, greywater, and neglect. Last week its creamy bloom was mangled by aphids.

I went to look. I expected awful.

The crippled flower had held on, and another bud bloomed--and another long, translucent mantis floating upside down on the stem.

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