Spirit of Zen

We sat down on the perfectly placed stone bench to enjoy a quiet moment with nature. A rustling sound began somewhere nearby: perhaps two lizards playing, a harmless garden snake, or just leaves blowing in the evening breeze. However, the strange sound intensified and before we knew it, we were sitting amid rubble. Our sacred stone perch overlooking the valley had literally disintegrated beneath us. No one was even slightly injured, but our quiet meditation had been bruised rather badly.


Evidently a seen, but ignored hairline crack in the old stone finally gave way—a fatal flaw. Our quiet and peaceful Tuscan Zen garden was threatened. Our focus suddenly shifted to bringing everything back into balance and harmony as soon as possible. But, how?

Let’s face it. We’re no young Buddhist Monks anymore. Afterall, we get into movies at the anziani (senior) discount now. And toting another 500 pound (226 kilo) stone down the hill seemed a bit out of reach for our sometimes weary bodies. But regardless of our chronological age, our spirits remain young and willing, so we immediately began the search for our new bench-top stone (naturally extracted from the surrounding hills of course). Oh yeah, we still had to figure out how to move the stone into position. But those were details yet to be decided. Later!

We began along the old road behind the house. There was an ancient stone retaining wall that had collapsed in places. Maybe one of the escapee stones had rolled into an easy-pickin’ position down the hill. No such luck. We found a couple of possibilities, but there was no way on God’s rocky earth, that we were going to wrestle one of those galoots into position. Our soaring spirits faltered just a tad.

somebody took a tumble

Then, on our walk back to the house, we spied an interesting option peeking from the dirt. It was hiding at the foot of a tree, nearly buried. With shovel, scrapers and strong rope, we pried that buried bench-top treasure from its resting place. The process was uneventful, except when the rope slipped from the teetering rock, sending one of us flying backwards as if shot from a cannon—but let’s not mention any names. It was a hard landing, but she was okay. After some hearty laughter and a little recovery time, we inspected our find. Perfect! With one exception: how to move it.

detail of fridge move

As we scanned our collective mental horizons to solve our transport problem, we remembered that we had to replace a 20-year-old frigorifero, refrigerator in California last year. Two guys put straps under the hulking form of the fridge and then secured carabiners into shoulder harnesses. With only a slight lift with their legs, that heavy icebox was floating between them like some sort of a levitation act in Las Vegas. They casually walked it out the front door (see drawing)—as easy as taking the dog out for an evening stroll. Maybe we could do the same with our replacement stone. Well . . . let’s just say that a stone and a fridge are two completely different things.

young Etruscan

Then Cheryl suggested that we think like ancient Etruscans, and simply roll the monster on some primitive wheels—in this case, old fence posts. Within minutes, she had scrounged varied lengths of round posts from the cantina, and we were off and running (rolling that is). Fortunately, our course was all down hill for a couple hundred meters, with four hairpin turns and a tricky lift in the home stretch. Everything went as planned without one mishap. We actually had a lot of fun implementing the plan.

sweet success!

A mere four hours later, we were sitting on Nature’s new bench, reflecting on our morning success. No strange sounds were heard. Silence. Peace. Bliss. We were Zen-ned out, so to speak. Everything was once again right with the world. Balance and harmony restored. We were two tired and sore anziani, momentarily lost in the affirmation—the timeless dream that spirit will out!

Following is a short video we made of the process, just in case you might also want to roll like the Etruscans.



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