I belong to a local Buddhist group here in Northwest Arkansas. They were fortunate enough to receive a gift of roughly five acres of land in the Ozarks. It was determined that they would use the land for holding future meditation retreats and general spiritual growth.
Emails have been flying all week as reminders that Saturday would be our first day to go to the remote location and begin the clearing of the land in anticipation of erecting a 22 foot teepee, creating a parking area and eventually building a garden and individual cabins for people to use while on retreat here. Oh, and in our spare time, build several trails for walking the beautiful perimeter of the property. I met with several other meditators and we car-pooled to the site.
Here is Karen getting her all terrain vehicle off the trailer. That in itself was a pretty neat gizmo. There was a latch, so when a vehicle is being driven off the trailer, it would automatically tilt backward eliminating the need for a ramp or any treads; it works the same for loading. Cool!
We were not the first ones to the site. Several others had arrived early enough to build two very healthy fires with the trees that were already down. There were huge logs everywhere and lots of full trees down in the woods. Our job was to clear away as much of the downed trees and remove those that were dying, as possible. As you can see, the lot is moderately wooded and there was some concern about copperheads. They love to hang out around dead downed trees. I shook each log and tree with a rake before I got near enough to touch it. The good news is that no one saw any snakes! Pretty amazing since I usually see at least one a week when I am out riding my bike around the streets of Fayetteville!
Everyone who showed up, worked...including Geshe Dorjee. I had never seen him in anything other than his magenta robes; yesterday he wore a yellow polo shirt and was swinging a mean axe.
Just before lunch we chanted and Geshe consecrated the land and then hung the Buddhist Prayer Flags as part of the ceremony
Here is a shot I took after lunch...we did make some progress but this will obviously need several visits before it begins to look like our visions of it.
This is the section that I was working on. I was surprised that we cleared as much as we did. It is always nice to leave on a positive note
This is Chris, we all took turns riding the ATV when the work was done. What fun it is to ride these things!This fellow brought his own heavy equipment. It was fabulous for moving those big logs to the fire and clearing the really heavy downed trees. You drive one of these babies around for a day and you can really get some work done. Here, he is taking the daughter of one of the volunteers for a ride. She was having a ball! There is no place like the country for a little kid!
Well, it can't be all work! After lunch some of us made watermelon teeth and showed them off. Some looked better than others!