The pellet stove's light glows in the corner shining through the windowed door. Its light rises up and falls down with the flames and fills the early morning silence. It gets a little brighter as wood pellets fall from the constantly turning auger into the flames and ignite.
It's about five in the morning which feels good because I have a little time for a cup of coffee and a poop before zazen. I really try to get on Zoom for the 5:30 sit with Mushin. Sometimes I don't make it. sometimes he doesn't. It feels like neither one of us has any judgement one way or another.
Today I sit by myself.
At six Heather always shows up. It feels encouraging to have them both. I sit again by myself. I don't mind at all.
Funny, I don't feel alone.
The past few days after zazen has been a strange kind of race, chasing the sunrise to get some photos. It feels good to fall in love with photography again. It's been a 38-year serious relationship bound for ups and downs like everything. The past few years feels like down years. Maybe even since discovering meditation practice?
The car was cold and frosted. The sky was already turning pink. I thought to myself "why didn't I leave sooner?" I headed down to my spot for the easy shot that everyone loves. Mount Washington glowing in the orange sun as downtown North Conway starts to see traffic. Good for maybe 1,000 likes and 20,000 views on Facebook on the Sun's page. It really pumps the ego and can be addicting. That wasn't why I was was doing it though. Sometimes it is why I do it too but not that day.
Getting near I see a car parked there already. It was Jay, of course. He always gets this shot too. I used to get pissed off. I always used to think to myself that I was first to get this shot back twenty five years ago. It was in the paper. I felt territorial over it. It's ridiculous but it's true. Even more so I still have a relationship with it, but, it has much more space.
I watch my feelings getting closer. The scene is now orange from the rising sun. I think "It's okay. We both know each other gets this shot often."
My drive for a photo, my determination to be in a relationship with photography and the need to honor and feed my new found inspiration well outweighed my self consciousness.
Instead of parking in the way I pulled around the corner and parked.
Once I got out of the car and walked over I thought I wanted to get a photo of him with his camera. I was pretty close, I watched him through my lens hoping he would look up soon so I could get a shot with orange sun on his face that was meant for the Mount Washington's snowy peak. He didn't for a while because the sunrise was happening so I gave up and got closer and said hi.
"Trying to steal my shot are you?" He said.
"Yes, after the thousandth time you stole mine," I said back.
I was both sort of thinking and sort of being reactionary. Sort of laughing and sort ribbing him. It was strange but as I looked in amazement at the light on the mountain and held the camera to my eye and breathed I sort of didn't care at all.
My reactions and greed, his feelings, our cameras, the light on the mountain, the climber invisible even to a telephoto all aglow in the same orange. There we were, all breathing together, in and out.
The shutter click could have been the bell going off to begin zazen.
"Well I'm off on a mission!" Jay said hurriedly taking off in his Ford.
Maybe it was the bell to end zazen?