The Forest Buddha sits just outside the gate on the western most reach of the vineyard and lavender field (Lot Sophia). Each day I walk the goats, we pass the Buddha. He amplifies a quiet place in my soul, reminding me of why I am on earth. The goats remind me, too, in their much more kinetic way! There is such beauty in the present.
My son Jesse gave me a card prefaced with a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh: “Let us offer each other happiness and establish ourselves in the present moment. We should let go of our sorrow and embrace life in our two arms.”
In this time of such climate shift and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to “let go of our sorrow and embrace life with our two arms.” The Buddha and the goats help with this. The Buddha serves serenity. This fifth season of summer fallowness in our Mediterranean climate finds him surrounded by dried oak leaves, so close to the driveway, yet also sequestered away. When I first set him in his spot, our llama Rocu was the first to notice him, and he noticed on the first walk-by. No one else saw the Buddha for weeks. You have to slow down to see him, to move into that state of mind that sees what is there, not what you think is there. Oddly, even some people who know he is there have trouble seeing him until he is specifically pointed out. We see what we expect to.
The goats help by insisting I stay in the present and see. As a friend commented when he saw pictures of our horned beauties, “They look dangerous!” The truth is, if you aren’t paying attention, they are dangerous! They gleefully gamble down the path, accidentally knocking you with their horns if you are not careful. Once Agaleah broadsided me. She was very sorry, returning and leaning against me as I picked myself up, but honestly, it was my fault. I wasn’t paying attention to my place in the whole herd. Maybe having a goat broadside you is a little like a whack by a zen master!