We are so grateful to Karen Marks, Deborah Brink Wöhrmann, Charlotte Kangas, and Linda Logan, who have already worked their magic in the kitchen. In advance, we offer our gratitude to Karen Wallace, Carolyn Peck, Linda Logan, and Karen Marks, who are scheduled to help in the coming weeks. While we miss our Marie, her absence created an opening for us to rekindle old friendships and embrace new ones.
Outside the kitchen, we continue to work on land stewardship projects. We have been carefully thinning the pines and oaks along our access road, and soon will turn our attention to reducing the bitter brush which can burn especially hot in a wildfire. This project is being managed by Jake Cummings with the support of a number of intrepid volunteers. Michael Hilsen, Greg Kust, Harlen Barcas, Robbie Wiley, and Peter Frothingham all continue to
assist in these efforts.
While some volunteers reduced selected trees along our egress road, other volunteers planted shrubs, flowers and saplings. Adele Hilsen, who helps organize and lead our work parties, oversaw the crew that dug, planted and watered around the staff quarters, the creek house and along the road. Cynthia Irving, Usha Noble, & Bob Harr all pitched in and sixty new plants went into the ground. While this can be a tough environment with its dry rocky soil, we optimistically cheer for these new residents each time we walk past.
April 4th marked the one-year anniversary of the sealing-in ceremony. Linda Logan, pie maker and baker extraordinaire, produced three beautiful and delicious apple pies—one for each of the wings and yes, one for the staff—yumm!! They were made and received with much joy and love. The South wing returned their clean empty pie dish with a small note in it that simply read, “please refill.”
Consider joining us for upcoming events at SCOL including work parties, painting classes, and a children’s day.
A New Kind of Fundraiser
by Jennifer Cox
There is so much value in what KCC offers to the Dharma community. It is beyond words really... from a beautiful array of study groups, day-long teachings, long retreats (seven days)... and even longer retreats (three years), to personal interviews and the amazing body of people who make up our ever-growing sangha.
Naturally, our focal point is the Dharma. But we are also a nonprofit organization and, when it comes to fundraising events and outreach, it is hard to know how to extend our value to a wider audience. To that end, KCC is going to try something different this summer.
To kick off this new effort, KCC is hosting a summer painting series out at its beautiful retreat land, Ser Chö Ösel Ling (SCOL). This series will bring the remarkable talents of three Portland artists—Kat Sowa, Jef Gunn, and Phillis Trowbridge—to SCOL. Each will lead a day or two of painting instruction on the land (far from the cloister where our Three Year Retreatants are in practice).
Each artist is known for her or his personal representation of en plein air painting. This is a French term created in the mid-19th century, meaning “open (in full) air”, in which a painter reproduces the actual visual conditions seen at the time of painting in an outdoor environment.
Starting off the series in June, Kat Sowa will lead a day-long class on Saturday, June 18th. Kat finds that working with all levels of painters makes for a much richer class, so the class is open to everyone. “I am enthusiastic to lead painters through this process and share this joy with anyone willing to pick up the brush,” she says. Kat spends her time on her farm on Sauvie Island, where she farms, paints what is around her, and holds en plein air workshops. “The sense of adventure that comes with en plein air painting, reminds me that I’m not in control of anything... but possibly my gear and my brush.” You can see more of Kat’s landscapes here: http://www.katsowa.com/landscapes.html
Registration is currently open for any or all of the four days of the painting series. The series will run from June through September. All proceeds will go to KCC’s general fund. To find out more and to register, please go to http://www.kcc.org/event/pleinair
The summer painting series is just one of the ways we are reaching larger audiences. Keep your eye out for other fundraisers KCC is doing to broaden our outreach.
Winter Retreat 2016
by Linda Grove, Events Committee
This year’s annual KCC Winter Personal Retreat was held at A Quiet Place Molalla, a remodeled farmhouse surrounded by farmland near Molalla, Oregon...a very peaceful setting in the midst of towering trees and a yard full of camellias, tulips, and songbirds. In all, there were fifteen retreatants. Some came for a month, others for weeks, and still others for days. In addition, there were seven cooks who prepared three delicious meals a day and found time to practice as well.
The Winter Personal Retreat has a different format than teacher-led retreats. While a common schedule is followed, practice is done in private rooms since individual practice programs vary. The only group activity is the evening Aspiration Prayers. Silence is maintained during shared meals, breaks, and chores.
This was my first personal retreat. For me it was a warm feeling to hear people in their individual rooms chanting, reciting, experiencing the silence of the dharma practice under one roof. It is wonderful to have the support of others’ practice.I found it extremely productive to have extended, continuous practice time without the distraction of everyday life, to have time to memorize what I’ve “been meaning to” memorize, to have time to read what I’ve “been meaning to” read. To borrow Ken McLeod’s words, I transitioned from “questing” to “resting” in my practice. (Please see
comments from other retreatants below.)
I hold deep gratitude for those who conceived the Winter Retreat long ago and for those whose heads and hearts provided the impetus to continue the tradition. I encourage those who have never been on the KCC Winter Personal Retreat to consider doing so next year... you could even put it on your calendar now!
Comments from the retreatants:
Julie: “...it has been amazing how quiet this little oasis has been...”
Sonia: “thank you all for holding this precious mandala of practice for me to step into albeit briefly.”
Dora: “Thank you all for the harmony and good-natured teamwork, for the quiet companionship, the prayers, and the practice, practice, practice! It’s been a wonderfully supportive environment...displaying...a beautiful facet of the jewel of the sangha. How precious in this world!”
Carolyn: “I cooked for eight days... and I myself was so well fed by the silence and discipline of everyone. My own practice deepened and a sense of cherishing of all of us, and a hope for that to extend to others arose in me.” “...[I] had the experience of being able to read and comprehend texts and commentaries so much better than on [my] own before the retreat.”