My friends, Yashas and Ramana, and I have been meeting occasionally to practice and sing bhajans (devotional songs). This past Friday, Yashas asked if we could sing outside in a beautiful place when we met on Sunday. What came to my mind was a public beach or in my back yard with neighbors looking on. While I liked the idea of being outside, I was not up for being in a public space, so my first reaction was not positive.
Later, I began to think about the lot behind my house. That space would be much more private but it is filled with blackberries, ivy and morning glory vines. As I pondered that possibility, I remembered there used to be a secluded area under a cedar tree in that lot. I decided to see what that space looked like now.
It turned out there were actually two cedar trees, standing side by side. Most of the area was sloped but not all of it. We would be able to play the harmonium and sing there once we cleared out the dead branches and some blackberries. In time, we could even invite others to join us. The neighbors might be able to hear us singing but they wouldn’t be able to see us. That mystery could be fun for everyone.
My hope was that we would be able to see a tree I consider majestic while we sang, (I have since discovered that it is an alder tree and rather than being one tree with four trunks, it is actually two trees, each of which has two trunks.)
The next day, Yasas helped me with the clearing. We sawed off dead branches, cut down a few blackberry vines and generally cleaned up the space. We placed some of the leaves on the ground to sit on.
Sunday afternoon, I built a small altar. Finding a level place where it wouldn’t fall over was tricky!
When Yasas and Ramana arrived, we sat in the new sanctuary and sang and talked for three hours. We had a wonderful time.
And this was our view!
When I sent some of these pictures to Sreejit (my son), he commented that we looked like pagan hippies. Hmmm. Well I still treasure the hippie part of me (A Hippie and Proud of It), and my love of Nature is ever increasing. I will accept that label!
I suspect I will spend many more hours in this new sanctuary.