Dear Zen Friend
1) December Sesshin from 12/08 to 12/10
The year end Sesshin from 12/27 to 12/31
January Sesshin from 01/19 to 01/23
2) A middle sized tree fell just before my eyes in the back yard. An explosive sound was scary. I heard falling sound many times at night, this was the first time to see a real tree falling.
There was no wind when the tree fell. Looked at broken parts, particular reason why the tree fell was not seen. A frame of tree collapsed, The existence of the tree (cause), ended (effect).
3) Winter is fast coming. Heating has been a serious question for valley zendo. Survival here means overcoming freezing temperature. Since the challenge is inescapable, I have had to learn many things about heating. If I lived in a city or in southern part of the US, I would never have attained knowledge related to heating.
This year I learned a new thing. In winter a stove must run through all night. Every night I got up once for adding firewood into the stove. Every night I calculated when to sleep and get up around certain time. I did it. The activity became my second nature.
After November sesshin I could not get up at one night due to exhaustion. That made me scared by thinking what would have happened in the middle of winter. I visited a stove shop in the following day.
New stoves are much different from old ones. An old style wood stove was a place for bonfire in a house. There always is danger of real fire. A new stove seems to contain the danger as much as possible. The control of temperature and direction of heating has been substantially improved.
At the same time all impurities in the wood are designed to burn. There has been a problem of creosote from the wood stove. This is why all chimneys must be cleaned every year. New products look to burn even creosote in smoke. A chimney sweeper may lose job if all stoves are replaced with new products.
A new stove is supposed to consume 30% less firewood than current one, and the burning of one load lasts about 10 hours. This is the most attractive feature for me.
We used to read ‘Discovery of Fire,’ ‘History of Fire,’ History of Fire and Humans.’ These concepts are based on fire in the forests. An old stove was an iron box in the house. So people talked abut distance of stove from wall.
The back of a new stove is not hot, so the distance is no more big issue. Finally modern technology has pushed a wood stove to a higher level.
I desire to sleep without worries about getting up at night.