Another weekend of progress at Korinji. This time we'll use mostly images to tell the story (courtesy of JC Epong, our photographer):
Like all work weekends, zazen (meditation) begins and ends each day. We sit as a group in the unfinished interior of our building. Early or late in the day, however, you may catch glimpses of volunteers doing solo sitting on a flat rock in the woods, or perhaps on the future back engawa.
The samu (work) schedule for this weekend was mostly centered on the grounds: trail building, gardening and other such things. More than 40 plants - purple coneflowers, woodland poppies, ferns, lillies, phlox, yarrow, valerian, lamb's ear, pachysandra and scilla - were dug in along the trail. They join the maidenhair ferns, may apple, thimbleberry and blooming trillium which were everywhere in abundance. Many thanks to Karen Radtke, who began stockpiling many of these additions last fall and lovingly cared for them over the winter in anticipation of this day.
While this was going on, the chainsaw crew was hard at work felling dead wood and in general cleaning up the place. Trees don't always lean the way we'd like them to fall, and so the rope teams applied their skill and muscle. Other volunteer teams were also wandering the woods locating and digging up suitable stone to finish lining the main stretch of trail between our parking lot and the zendo. In the main ravine, it often makes sense to roll the stones down to where they're needed, rather than haul them. A slow but steady avalanche of these sandstone rocks allowed us to complete the trail and establish the foundation of the small footbridge that will span the muddy ravine bottom.
Let's return now to the work of our planters: this bit of trail, which is one of the switchbacks on the initial stretch below the parking area (and the point where future visitors might catch a first glimpse, far off and above the trees, of the monastery building roofs), has been dubbed "fern alley".
Some other minor jobs: raking the gravel of our new construction access drive, which is beginning to set nicely. This is the dreaded stretch of steep hill that tested our volunteers' endurance in the past, when construction materials were often hauled down to the work site by hand. Those of us who were there in those difficult days tend to wax poetic about this drive in a way that most folks can't understand. It's beautiful!
The end of a day: relaxing on the front porch. The special meal this time was okonomiyaki, a type of vegetable pancake which is a famous dish in Japan's Kansai region. Many thanks to Greg Dekker for his chef skills and generosity in feeding the hungry crew.
We hope these images give you a sense of a typical summer weekend at Korinji. Please join us! A listing of future work weekend dates may be found on the Korinji site, here. Our schedule now calls for the completion of the building's exterior (soffit/fascia, windows and siding with trim) before the fall, allowing us to continue interior buildout throughout the year in a fully-sealed building. We welcome you to be a part of this immensely rewarding project, and most important to practice with us.