The Great Outback
My friend Luis Villegas—“the fine arts handyman”—came out of his semi-retirement and built a deck for our backyard. We’re getting ready for Johnny Byrd’s wedding to Ailbhe Cormack and at the family party the night before we need a stage from which to declare our love. Lee’s been wanting some sort of boardwalk contraption for a long time, but the wedding pushed the ball downhill. Of course our deck had to be different. It had to be shaped like a piece of pie sitting into the corner of our backyard. A square deck is not what we wanted. Luis was hesitant. He’d had a heart attack and he couldn’t do any heavy lifting. Not to worry, I told him. I’d help, I’d hire our friend Gabriel Espinoza. So Luis thought about it some, drew up the design and did the job, along with Gabriel and me, and it’s miraculous. He even curved two 2”x6”x16’ boards to fit the pie around the outside of its edges. A true mystery. Luis kept mumbling about the Steinway curve. I will tell you sometime how he did it.
I’m so happy with our deck that in the early mornings I drag all my cushions outside do my meditation. The sun is rising, the neighborhood is waking up, the air is cool, and I can see the mountains when I look to the west. And, because the deck levitates above the earth on concrete blocks, the ants don’t come climbing up my legs. Life is good. So a few mornings ago I crossed my legs and sat down on my zafu. The full moon was falling in the dawn sky behind the mountains. I bowed, straightened my back, head pushing the sky aloft, and sat there in my goofy half-lotus. My breath settled into my diaphragm. Time passed like it always does. Ernie our big black cat nudged me. I keep a wide spot on my zabuton reserved for Ernie. I patted him some and he curled up beside me. This is his morning pleasure. I returned to my sitting. A little breeze.