It gets light earlier here... I woke up just before 5, and finally got up about half past to the delight of the dog. Claire closed the blinds as we went to bed, and I wondered why... opened them up to see the fabulous view and Rusty spotted a squirrel in the pine tree and went bonkers! So that's why the blinds were down!! To sort that out, and avoid waking the sensible people still in the Land of Nod, I took him out for a walk.

He has never refused an offer like that, and I only had to heave a bit on his lead to distract him from killing attempting to kill the squirrel and walk in the opposite direction. Trees were blessed, smells were found to be irresistible, vertical take offs were performed and we returned home where Rusty had clearly not forgotten about that squirrel at all and was disappointed to be almost hauled inside. Ho hum, it's a dog's life.

We went exploring on the other side of the river, in a nature reserve where there are supposed to be endless numbers of birds. We saw none, apart from the usual water fowl and sea birds of various stripes. But it was a lovely place, a different sort of environment being built on river sand and silt I think. Very soft underfoot and with incredibly stretchy, athletic trees growing at all sorts of mad leaning angles as the earth is washed away from under them on the edges of the land and they tip towards the river.

There were smells here too, and a lot of stopping to deliver blessings. We hear one or two birds, but seriously - not a lot of evidence of the avian hoards we were lead to believe would be at every turn. I don't mind a bit, not being that keen on birds really, and we got a lovely walk as well - sunny and warm when we were out of the wind. A very different day to yesterday. It's been bright all day, though I can't account for an hour in the middle where my body said to go and lie down, and I think I even dozed off.

Keith has been reading the translations through, Claire has been doing some language work of her own, and I have been blipping. It isn't exactly exciting, but it's very pleasant to be in company after weeks of not being with anyone much but the wonderful Keith. And a dog is always a positive addition to the general ambience, and very peaceful when he's sleeping off a hard romp.

Meditation happened as usual, but not yoga. It's a bit tricky with an investigative canine in the one big room... but today the programme was mostly gentle stretching so I think we'll survive without it. Typically, I'm following the program to the letter and doing all the tasks we are set for each day. It is up to us how much we make of them, and I am getting a lot out of some structured thinking. Today's first questions were about joy. What brings you the most joy? How do you feel this joy in your everyday life & in your current work? Well worth pondering and writing about!

There was another question about three occasions where you deprived someone of the opportunity to learn and to grow. (as in, by taking over and "helping" instead of letting them find their own way) That was trickier, as a teacher the whole thing is about letting people "struggle" with support, giving them safety nets and scaffolding but not taking over. I had to really work hard to dig up two specific events and one general observation. I thought for a good while about this, are we enabling, or are we disabling when we "help" people?

The sun is beaming down, the water is almost flat calm, the dog is peaceful, Claire is cooking dinner, Keith has a beer in front of him, I have so far stuck to sensible (and delicious) eating, and I am on blip - all is well in our joyful world for the moment. Wishing you joy in yours.

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