I am sitting next to our faithful wood stove, with our cat curled up in my lap and a mug of hot tea nearby. Fluffy white snowflakes drift lazily outside my window. I am listening to my favorite classical music station (WQXR). Haydar ‘Ali (Rick) is in a Sufi Graduate Studies class in the Meditation Hall here at the Abode and Ben (now 11 and almost as tall as me!) is at his new school (BCD) in West Stockbridge. Life is good.
The Abode rooster, Joe Bob, is crowing on our deck. He, and his brood of free range hens that lay eggs for the Abode, visits our deck multiple times a day, hoping for a bit of seed that has fallen from the clutches of one of the many chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, cardinals and titmouses that spend the day at our bird feeder.
Today is Friday. Friday mornings offer yoga in Fatah, the building that houses Mountain Road School, which Benny gratefully attended for eight years. During shavasana this morning, I heard the sounds of children laughing as they climbed the stairs to their respective multi-age classrooms.
Friday also means Shabbos in the back dining room of Rezak. After we light the Shabbos candles and sing, we bless each other with light and, together, lift our hands towards the heavens and “send” light out to the world. We also share our highlights of the week with one another. My most recent highlight was watching Ben play piano and sing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day (accompanied by his friend, Will, on drums, and his music teacher, Mark Kelso, on guitar) at Mark’s Muddy Angel recording studio. Ben’s most recent highlight was seeing a deer grazing in a field just as the sun was coming up over Mt. Lebanon on his way to school. Life is most definitely good.
Friday evening also means either Dances of Universal Peace or Family Fun Night. Once a month, people from all spiritual paths gather in the Abode’s Meditation Hall to dance in a circle (not unlike our Shaker predecessors) while drummers and guitarists perform songs from different faith traditions in the middle. Sometimes we hold hands, other times we gaze into a partner’s eyes with love, reminding each other of our collective pure essence, a purity that knows no shame, no guilt, only love.
Family Fun Night means either curling up on the couch together to watch a favorite DVD series (“The Waltons”, the “Vicar of Dibley” and “Ballykissangel” are our current favorites) or sitting at our dining room table to play our favorite board games (like “Apples to Apples”, “Labyrinth” and “Scrambled States of America”). We now have a dedicated oak cabinet with glass doors full of our favorite games gifted to us by friends and family over the years.
As you can see, Fridays are a great time to visit. Why not make a weekend of it? We’d love to have you. Winter is just around the corner, as is Jiminy Peak, a world-class (to us locals) ski resort. We also have a super ginormous LL Bean snow tube and a pantry stocked with the best hot cocoa on the planet, courtesy of Berkshire Organics, a local, family-owned business created to bring area residents and local farms together.
We wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy holiday season and 2012!
Jill, Haydar ‘Ali/Rick and Benjamin
P.S. You can see our 2011 photographs on the “Haydar Ali Rick Zoeller” Facebook page.