memory – Catalina

August 1st was the Full Sturgeon Moon, reminding me of the varieties of fish at Catalina Island (Garibaldi, Calico Bass, etc) and my trip there with Sensei and Dhammika in about 1996. Dhammika and I were two of Sensei’s students from UCLA and the three of us set off one weekend “in search of aranya” or a good wilderness to meditate in, as Sensei would say. After the couple-hour boat ride over, we walked around the town of Avalon and stayed over in an old and simple one-room hotel. Sensei wanted to know all the details of the island’s history and namesake, Saint Catherine. The next morning we decided to hike around the south/east rim trail past East Peak, and set off for a half-day hike. Here are some pictures I found online as I didn’t take any that day myself. Hiking along with Sensei was great for conversation and invariably led to discussions of deep meditation, life and enlightenment as well as history and Buddhist stories. Then we’d notice a cactus growing twisted around a rock and study it for a while before continuing the hike. Later, we waited on the pier for the return boat and sat down to meditate with the small waves lapping at our backs.

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