It is a delight and relief to see tiny fresh leaves growing on the lower twigs of the walnut trees. They all sent forth optimistic sprouts six weeks ago and then were hit by severe late frost, turning all black and forlorn. Recovery started at the crowns of the trees, the point that catches most sunlight, and has now spread all the way down. The growth is, as yet, sparse but it promises to thicken up well now. The delicate leaves with their pale green and orange brown tints are a picture of tenderness and it is a pleasure to sit beneath in dappled shade to drink mid-morning refreshment.Today it is hot. I have been out mowing grass and was perspiring freely so taking some cool refreshment is certainly in order.

Strange to be sitting here in such complete peace thinking while elsewhere a troubled world counts its casualties and trades bombs and deliberate terror. I have lived with it all my life from my infancy in Cyprus onward. That's life: a juxtaposition of glory and terror. Cyprus is a classic example: a little gem in the Mediterranean surrounded by turquoise seas fought over throughout history by Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Byzantines, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, Turks... and now the place is swarming with Russians. Oh what fools these mortals be! Namo Amida Bu.

Here in my retreat in France it also feels rather as if on an island, even though a long way from the ocean. I am off the beaten track, as they say. Yesterday the internet failed. There was a fault on the line. Nowadays we are so habituated to it that having no wi-fi imposed a startlingly new degree of isolation. If one were to spend a year here without wi-fi or telephone one would start to forget the rest of the world existed.

It is already hard to remember winter. My wood pile does gradually grow in anticipation of the fact that this balmy weather will not go on for ever and ever, but at the moment we are moving the other way, into the big heat of summer. Taking a break between jobs - as now - I appreciate the shade, made to seem all the more intense by the sharpness of the points of sunlight that penetrate. For all this - the light nd the dark - I offer my prayers.

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Good daily!! Namo Amida Bu( ;

I just finished watching "Farewell my Concubine" and so my thoughts are along the lines of how much evil and delusion can live along side beauty and art. The story center's on 3 people, 2 orphan boys who grow up together in Beijing learning opera and become stars and the woman that comes between them. It starts in the warlord period and ends after the cultural revolution. Their entire relationship is exposed before a crowd of avid revolutionaries with one man disavowing his woman and his partner and the other man airing a lifetime of misdeeds and betrayals. Powerful stuff and certainly relevant to the situations we find ourselves in now. 

Thanks, jan. Sounds to be a quite painful read.

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