This hernia is killing me. Well, not killing but hurting. I’m waiting for a date with the surgeon’s knife and nothing is critical. I spent the day on my feet, mostly in the kitchen baking bread and generally assisting wherever needed. To be a monastery cook (tenzo in Japanese) is a routine assignment — each novice priest has to do it for one or two years during their seven years of training. Some are naturals at it, others aren’t and have to work extra hard. One thing that fell by the wayside over time was bread baking. Eight rosemary-flavoured loaves graced last night’s dinner table and a bucket of sourdough starter has taken up residence in the pantry.
Baking bread, along with chopping onions (a standard on a cook’s To Do list), peeling beets, washing pots and pans, sweeping the kitchen floor — those were some of my duties today. I’m thoroughly happy in a way only good work can make me. I’m tired (with an acheing abdomen) and at ease. Off to the shower, then to the meditation hall for two hours of sitting. What a life!