Thangka Cleaning, and the First 2017 Seed Catalog Has Arrived!

The Tibetan thangka at our home depicts the Wheel of Life in a Tibetan mandala. It’s time to carefully clean the delicate silk frame. Here it is removed from the wall and waiting for its annual cleaning last night.

I bought a beautiful, large Tibetan thangka during a long stay in China in 2007. It’s my most cherished possession. I have amazing memories of that trip, and having this thangka hanging in a prominent place in our home reminds me every day of the long and arduous trek to remote Lan Tau Island and sacred Po Lin Monastery, where I and my friend sat at the feet of the largest outdoor Buddha in the world, immersed in incense and surrounded by prayer. It was a magical summer.

The thangka needs periodic cleaning. The hand-painted image at the center can’t be touched, but the gorgeous silk framing can be carefully cleaned by hand. This is done once a year. It’s a chore like sweeping out the ashram: labor intensive and yet meditative, an opportunity to be quiet and focused in a sacramental space.

Not one leaf has yet dropped from our new bonsai. It was lovingly cultivated. It’s in a warm place and is being kept moist. I’m anxious to get some iron supplement for it. I’ve cleared away some of the plants that didn’t take kindly to life indoors and have died: one mango tree, one small lemon tree, the pomegranate seeds I tried to germinate, a pot of lemongrass, and one amaryllis bulb from last year that started to grow and then just perished.

Another Thai Black Stem banana seed has germinated! It’s true that some banana seeds take many months to start. These seeds were planted more than 3 months ago. There are amaryllis in bloom and about to bloom all around the house. I love indoor winter gardening.

With that said, two days ago, the first seed catalog of the season arrived, yay! Kitazawa Seed Company has been selling Asian veggie seeds for more than a century. Each year, I order several seeds for the food garden. I’m busy going through the catalog and dogearing pages.

Soon, my husband and I will sit down and plan the garden, draw up a blueprint, and tape it to the refrigerator. Then we’ll spend months looking at it and making changes. In the meantime, I’ll be ordering seeds.

Today is December 22. We have a long weekend before us. Plans include family visits and football. I’ll be making raw sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is the easiest and tastiest probiotic you can make. It’s vegan, crunchy, tangy, and spiced with caraway. I make it in large mason jars. No need to buy one of those expensive German fermenting jars for this.

What am I looking forward most of all? Passing out gifts to our dogs on Christmas morning. They get so happy and excited, and for a few minutes, it’s all barking and whining and begging and chaos. Then, they settle down with their new stuff and munch and play for hours. My husband sticks bows on their heads.

This is the season known for joy and fellowship. Why don’t we just extend this season to 365 days? Love, kindness, and compassion every single day. Forgive those who have harmed us, help those who need it, speak only good of others, care for animals and safeguard the Earth, and secure a sane world for the generations to come.

I’m rocking out to some MC Yogi today and dreaming of our own garden-grown misome in a veggie stir-fry with choryoku and brown rice. Spring and fresh garden food are on their way.

Goodness will get us through it all.

Live in peace.

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