A chronicle of the Spring 2015 Work Period at Tassajara,
by Tassajara Director Shinchi Linda Galijan
Much has happened in the last month! On April 4, we ceremonially closed the 95th practice period. We set out before dawn, offering incense at all the altars in Tassajara, and by the time we made our way back into the zendo for the departing monks ceremony, it was nearly full light. After lots of hugs and last photographs, we waved all the departing monks goodbye.
Two days later, we welcomed the joyous energy of work period volunteers. The biggest project was repairing and retiling the women’s shower. A nifty outdoor shower was erected on the deck, and the work area was curtained off so work could continue while still allowing access to showers and the women’s plunge. The new tile and fittings are quite elegant, giving a peaceful feeling of rippling waves.
The coffee and tea area has been refreshed with a magnificent new greenish-black soapstone countertop. Soapstone is used for chemistry lab counters, as it is extremely durable and impervious to all substances, including acid and bleach. During construction, the whole coffee and tea area moved a few feet away into the courtyard, sitting on planks set on sawhorses.
The outdoor low-voltage LED lighting has now been completed from the pool down through student housing, and quite a bit of indoor LED lighting has been installed, as well. The new “warm” LEDs give a very nice quality of light, and as even better bulbs are available, we will continue to upgrade them. We left some old kerosene lamps in the rooms, at least for now, so guests can choose what lighting they prefer.
For the first time, Tassajara held a professional Fire Academy for our fire crews. Twenty-two students completed a 40-hour Wildland Firefighter training, and received federal and state certificates. It was wonderful to watch the crews work so mindfully and harmoniously together, especially working with live fire as they burned the brush piles in Tassajara. We now have even greater confidence in our ability to meet any conditions that may arise.
Deep gratitude to all the work period volunteers! Your generosity, skills and spirit continue to support and sustain us, literally making Tassajara what it is.
Guest season is now open, and everything is off to a great start. We hope you will come visit us, and that you will enjoy the new improvements!
With deep gratitude for the photography: Bathhouse Alter by Shundo David Haye, Soapstone Counter by Shinchi Linda Galijan, Fire Crew by Shundo David Haye, Work Period Volunteer by Shundo David Haye.