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Something fun  

June 19, 2021

A Soft Reopening
For too long this pandemic’s been looming
And reduced us to fretting and fuming.
Though this opening soft
Means that indoors we’ll waft
We’ll continue with masking and zooming.

By Sharon Whitehill

Something novel  

June 26, 2021

The following is an excerpt from Doug Lowndes’ latest novel, The Kypris Effect

The monks, who she had seen milling around earlier, now were seated with crossed legs, each on a small robe, facing the Sitting Buddha and a leader who sat on a cushion and an elevated small platform. He appeared to be quite elderly and Tibetan or Nepalese, possibly a venerable Buddhist visitor.

Kypris knew very well from her own practice the low humming sound they made. It resonated with her. Although in plain sight, she moved stealthily behind the group and seated herself similarly on her shawl. Fine, Kypris thought, here’s where I will properly complete my practice. I can use the large Buddha and this Buddhist gathering to focus my mind, just as I had intended.

After a time, the monks’ humming changed to an almost sing-song chant that Kypris knew well and had always liked, but never practiced. Her Lama’s family used it in their home across the Bay. She sensed that this practice was coming to an end, so Kypris joined in with true single-mindedness for the first time today, because the rhythm, her body swaying just slightly to match it, and the rightness of the setting, really were intoxicating and familiar. In her mind she could visualize her own group of little Buddhas back home, arranged in their mandala, now gently rocking and dancing, each moving in time with the chant.

Kypris looked up. She began to visualize the Seated Buddha also moving in time, rocking on its base. She was so entranced with locking her vision onto the Seated Buddha, while she simultaneously visualized it dancing, that she barely noticed the first of the very slow, long-wavelength tremors in the ground. Then, a second tremor came. The sudden shock of the following earthquake knocked her completely over, and out of her concentration.

“Stop it now, stop it now!” Kypris screamed from the ground, as some people on the path fell, while others went down to all fours to support themselves. Thoroughly shaken—much more so by what seemed to have occurred from inside her than by the actual earthquake outside—Kypris tried clumsily and completely unsuccessfully to stand up, falling down in a heap.

“Are you hurt?”, came a man’s voice, and two strong hands lifted her at the shoulders, then spun her around to face him. “You don’t seem to be hurt,” he stated, his hands still holding her close and upright from behind both shoulder blades.

“No, I’m okay, I think,” was her shaken reply.

“But why did you scream?” the man in black asked, now gently rubbing the tops of her shoulders in a most disconcerting way, as she stared back into his distinctly Asian and questioning face.

“I was frightened—I mean surprised.”

“But do you always shout out for things to stop if they frighten you?” he asked. “Does that ever actually work?”

“No, it’s the first time, and the earthquake was my fault, so I thought I could…” Kypris stammered. “Oh, I don’t know what I mean.”. Then she realized with rising dread what she had said.

Doug Lowndes, Author

Something artsy  

June 24, 2021

News from Canada:
I reached out to Lina, one of our Canadian members, to ask for photos of some of her work. she obliged, as you can see, with the pictures below and also gave me a bit about what has been happening with her:

Hi Fred,
Since returning, rather abruptly, to Canada at the start of the pandemic and being mostly confined to my home, I turned to sewing as my serenity source. By December I had manufactured 1000 facemasks. These were distributed to various organizations as a very satisfying volunteer activity.

As some of you know, my Florida home burnt to the ground in February, so it’s been a tough winter, being unable to cross the border to tend to business there.

However, all bad things come to an end. I’ve purchased a new place, (sight unseen!) and am confident that this fall I’ll be seeing all my Punta Gorda neighbours and beloved UU community again.

Lina Van Helvert

Here are some photos of Lina’s work: