Close to the Ground: A Drop in the Bucket

It is 7:30 a.m. on a sunny spring day. Bodhi the dog is walking with me along Bandon Beach, one of Oregon’s most beautiful coastlines. It is pristine. The air is filled with that wonderful water energy that happens around massive bodies of water. I’m sort of surprised that we are the only ones on the beach.Climbing around one of the mammoth rocks that pop up here and there, we spot a lone photographer. He is clearly professional, surrounded by equipment that probably cost more than my house. We watch his slow, exacting movements as he sets up his equipment. Then he just stares out at the ocean. I join him, trying to figure out what he’s watching for. The sun has already risen. No surfers are out this morning, or any dolphins, whales, or sea lions. Suddenly I figure it out. He’s watching for trash. A lot of it has been floating onto the beach lately, so much that it’s been in the news. It can be measured in tons.In the same moment, I realize that, standing there, I’ve stepped into a modern-day koan: “How can I save the ocean?” Here is the problem staring me in the face, smack in the middle of Bandon Beac …

The author of Close to the Ground: Reflections on the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, Geri Larkin is spending the summer obsessing about plastic and how to use less of it.

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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