Good to Be 70
Robust ears of corn were thrust onto the grill next to skewers of meat, local red peppers, onions and zucchini. The table inside the beautiful rustic log home, only 8 miles north of Karme Choling, was overflowing with fresh salads, baked brie, fresh bread, potstickers, humus, pesto smeared potatoes and oodles of fresh garden tomatoes. Tomatoes in salad, tomatoes with cheese, tomatoes cut up into chip-dips, and tomatoes just for snacking. ‘Tis the season you see, here in northern Vermont. Seventy people were milling about, inside and out, drinking bubbling soda, beer and wine, talking, laughing and eating with one another, celebrating the achievement of 8 local sangha members: turning 70 in 2012.
The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is home to the rich heritage and community surrounding Karme Choling. As the sangha ages, many have decided to settle in these green, green hills. Many have moved north from Boston and New York to be closer to Karme Choling, and closer to a quieter, slower way of living. Yet there is also a growing number of practitioners who were here (in the hills) to begin with and who stumbled into Shambhala, in the usual variety of ways. It’s not a large community up here, and in fact is quite small given the large chunk of the state it covers, but relatively speaking, to have 70 people turn out at a local sangha member’s beautiful home in the countryside is quite a wonderful late-summer feat. A feat of feasting, it turned out, since many have bountiful gardens just waiting to be eaten.
As people ate and caught up on the latest news and doings of children, parents, gardens, summer travels and retreats, there was a resounding atmosphere of conviviality. No frowns were seen, and no neighbors complained (they were probably at the party too!). Indeed, there were only masses of upside-down-frowns when two Karme Choling staff members, Suzanne and Anenome read a 10-point list of why it’s “Good to Be 70″. Among the list were the following items, read out of order on purpose, to the guffaws and delight of all present:
1. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
2. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
7. No one expects you to run – anywhere.
5. People call at 9 pm and ask, did I wake you?
4. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
10. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
(list courtesy of: homeandholidays.com)
(click on photo to view as a slide show)
Celebrating with cigars and fine champagne, the group of 8 endured a melodic birthday song and contributed to the consumption of many fine cakes baked by a local French chef.
Turning 70, at least in northern Vermont, is something to look forward to and something to celebrate in a large and loud way. Thanks to Jane and Joe Alper for hosting a great party! May all who turn a similarly significant age this year enjoy it with as much joy and companionship.