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Close to the Ground: Buddhaland

She was sitting on a bench outside the grocery store where I shop. It was 8 a.m. and drizzling—typical for spring in Eugene. I watched her sip coffee out of a well-worn Starbucks cup as I pulled into the parking space right in front of her. Walking past, I said, “Wow. It’s cold.” Her response was to thank me for not pulling away as soon as I had seen her; the open spot, which I had attributed to lucky parking-space karma, had been bypassed by other drivers put off by her appearance.She smiled, toothless. Maybe she was 40. Maybe she was 60.This is what she wore: pink sneakers, pink tights, and a long pink patterned skirt that almost reached her ankles. These were topped by a purple-toned sweatshirt and a straw hat. She had wrapped an entire skein of dark rose yarn around her hat, letting random yarn pieces loop down to her shoulders.“I don’t steal,” she told me. “Never have. Never will.” I just looked at her and, without thinking, said, “I think you are beautiful.” Suddenly we were caught in a timeless moment together, both pleased with our shared intimacy. It was one of those moments that remind me how …

About the Author

Geri Larkin is the founder and former head teacher of Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple, a Zen meditation center in the heart of...

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