GONE (JUST FOR WEEKEND)

I’m going away for the weekend.

It may sound like no big deal; to me it’s a big deal. I haven’t gone away in a long time except to work or to see family. Neither are occasions for complete relaxation. But I woke up on Wednesday, looked at Harry as he stared at me, Pinky the Elephant in his mouth ready to be tossed from me to Henry and back to me and back to Henry—you get the idea—and I wanted to go right under the blanket again. Ditto when I came downstairs and Aussie wagged her tail, wanting her breakfast.

When I can’t look at dogs anymore, I know it’s time for a break.

When I make a big bow to Kwan-Yin and return inside because I don’t have the energy for one more service, it’s time for a break.

When I can’t put together the meal for Aussie—dog food, cheese, fresh water—it’s that time.

When I don’t want to go down to the basement to empty out the dehumidifier, it’s that time.

When I can’t look at emails, don’t feel like checking in with mom, don’t want to check up on Brutus the giant baby bunny who’s twice the size he was some 9 days ago when we found him close to death outside, it’s time to get away.

I look but don’t see the hummingbirds at the feeders outside, nor the red flowers courtesy of July’s foot of rain, and don’t even mention the word cooking.

You need to get away, a voice said.

Why? another voice said. I already live in such a gorgeous place if only I’d open up my eyes and take a good look.

You need a change, the voice insisted. A place where you don’t take care of dogs or do things for the house or answer emails or any of that. A place where you can look at something else.

Like what?

Like an ocean. When did you last see an ocean?

I can’t remember.

Go to the ocean.

I haven’t gone away alone since before marrying Bernie, unless it was to teach or to write or to see family. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on my own and do nothing.

Who says anything about doing nothing? Go to the beach, window-shop, try a new restaurant or café. Sit and look out at the waves.

Like I said, doing nothing.

Are you afraid to be alone when you’re not working? Not being capable, not being valuable?

Before Bernie I traveled alone lots, didn’t think twice about it. It’s different now. I mean, whom am I going to talk to over dinner? Maybe I won’t bother with dinner, just eat a sandwich late afternoon and go back to the room.

Eat dinner in a restaurant, be a mensch. Bring a book. Order some wine.

I guess I could make some overdue phone calls.

Don’t make overdue phone calls.

The only vacations Bernie and I ever took were to Hawaii to see Ram Dass. We loved those times. It’s the only occasions when even he didn’t talk about work, his vision, the problems, all the stuff he always talked about. This is going to be a short weekend at the shore, and I’ll be alone. Storms again on Sunday. Who’ll watch over Aussie when she freaks out?

She’ll manage. You’ll be on your own in a new place. Anything can happen.

Or nothing can happen.

Which would you prefer?

 

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THE DOGS OF THE KISKADEE HILLS

Eve Marko - The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the LynxThe Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the Lynx begins a trilogy about a society of dogs after humans have destroyed themselves and much of the world. Living with their families and clans in the Kiskadee Hills, they’ve developed over generations a rich tradition and way of life, and have prospered. But now, an unknown killer is butchering the Kisdees of the Hills.

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges says: “You will never look at dogs the same again. Eve Marko gives us a story that explores the path that life on our planet has taken, and asks what your role in that course might be.”

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BEARING WITNESS

Eve Marko - Bearing Witness

To bear witness to anything is to be as close to it as possible.

It’s not to read books or see movies about it, it’s not to have an opinion or tell a story. It’s to let go of all ideas about it—be in the space of not-knowing—and simply be there, up close and deeply personal.

Eve has been involved with the Zen Peacemaker Order’s Bearing Witness Retreats—in places of suffering and conflict since her first visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There have been 20 retreats at the site of those concentration camps since, along with retreats in Bosnia, Rwanda and the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the Pine Ridge Reservation.

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ABOUT EVE MARKO

Eve Marko is a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and head teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts. She received dharma transmission and inka from Bernie Glassman. She is also a writer and editor of fiction and nonfiction.

Eve has trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and has been a Spiritholder at retreats bearing witness to genocide at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda, and the Black Hills in South Dakota. Before that she worked at the Greyston Mandala, which provides housing, child care, jobs, and AIDS-related medical services in Yonkers, New York.

Eve’s articles on social activists have appeared in the magazines TricycleShambhala Sun, and Tikkun. Her collection of Zen koans for modern Zen practitioners in collaboration with Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, The Book of Householder Koans: Waking Up In the Land of Attachments, came out in February 2020.

Hunt for the Lynx, the first in her fantasy trilogy, The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills, was published in 2016.

“When I was a young girl my dream was to be a hermit, live alone, and write serious literature. That’s not how things turned out. I got involved with people. I got involved in the world. Two things matter to me right now: the creative spark and the aliveness of personal connection. In some way, they both come down to the same thing.”

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