Lucky for us, Sim and I both had the morning free on Monday. Rather than spend cyber Monday online we headed outside. Even luckier for us, the weather was relatively calm and the clouded sky had that majestic New England grey about it.
We were going to head out to another area of Hudson for a hike but at the last minute decided to check out the nearby Won Dharma Center off Route 23.
I’m so glad we decided to change our plans and drive the 10 or 15 minutes from Hudson to Claverack, New York. Neither of us had been on the grounds though we’d both driven past the location multiple times on our way to the Berkshires. We have both been interested in attending some classes there; Tuesdays they host guided meditation classes, Friday morning the teach chair yoga, and Moving Meditation and Tai Chi classes are offered throughout the week.
I’d really love to go to one of their Saturday services. In addition to a group sit there is a Dharma talk and a chance to meet other practioners. Won Buddhism is a sect I don’t know much about though since the center is nearly in my backyard I think it would be silly of me not to at least check it out. (And put my religious studies major/anthropology minor to good use!)
This afternoon though we weren’t there for classes. The center sits on 426 acres overlooking the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. Loaded up with gloves, scarves, hats, and triple layers we traversed the acreage; up and down mole hills, bypassing swiftly moving streams, and staring into twisted tree branch sculptures. I can imagine how magnificent the meadows must be in spring time when the blossoms are flush with color and the fields are alive with roaming creatures.
I did a happy dance when we found some milk weed seeds still attached to their pod. I’m pretty sure these feather-like seed wings are the softest material on earth. I couldn’t help myself and after rubbing them between my fingers I set the darling little seeds free to make new pods for next year. My amazement at the sensation of the milkweed and the delight in watching them float high on a short breeze made me feel like I was six years old. Like finding the ice cream cone or the bicycle in the puzzle on the back page of a Highlights Magazine I was finding the extraordinary in the everyday. I admit, I was too mesmerized to take a picture of the milkweed for you to enjoy though I did catch a photo of Simeon squashing a certain poof-ball fungus thing.
For the life of me I can’t remember what it’s called but the thing it makes this magical little puff of smoke when you step on it. Totally reminds of the stink bombs my friend Ricky and I set one summer in his Los Angeles neighborhood. I made Sim step on the thing repeatedly so I could relive that childhood fun.
We had such a good time on our hike through the meadows. I love New England. I really do. In this environment even death and decay are full of beauty and pride. I can’t wait to go back every season.