Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Hello from Nelson!

I'm in Nelson, British Columbia for work this week. This is my first time to to either the Northwest of the US or Western Canada. It's absolutely beautiful here.

I flew into Spokane, Washington, rented a car and drove for four hours north. Nelson is remote. I'm told it's about equidistant, about an 8 hour drive, to either Calgary or Vancouver.

I saw an email from the IT guy at the company I'm visiting, which said something about sending backups to a remote site. As remote as Nelson is, I'd like to know where they're planning on sending those backups. Then again, maybe I don't.

This must be a lovely place to live. Everything overlooks the lake. I understand that it's not uncommon to have to chase a black bear or an elk off of your deck in the morning. Of course living in a big city, I'm used to having virtually everything I could want right at hand (like an airport). It would take some getting used to living in a place so far out in the friggin' boondocks.

As I said, this is a beautiful place. You just have to really mean it to get here. I flew for 7 hours to get to Spokane Washington, then got in a rented car and drove for four hours north along the Pend Orielle River. It's only about 160 miles,but it's not like you're getting on an 8 lane interstate. It's basically a 2 lane highway which follows the river upstream. It's a very engaging road, in that your have to pay attention to what you're doing. The radio didn't come in very well, with the mountains, but I did get to drive along to some classical music for a while, and then accompanied by the blues.

The river, the mountains, forests of pine and birch. It was a tiring day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The remoteness brings to mind the Daoist and Zen hermits. A recent article at Weakness With A Twist is worth reading. The author describes a sort of "Hermit Kung Fu." I don't know much about the teacher he writes about other than recognizing the name, but that man's particular art isn't the point of the article.

I'm in Nelson for work. I am visiting the company I am contracting with. I'm thankful to have this contract, but I'm putting in an awful lot of hours, which backs up into other things. Among them, my own practice.

At times my practices gets really knocked off track. However, I am a believer that once martial arts practice gets hold of you, it's like gravity; you can get away from it for a short time, but it'll always bring you back.

I am getting pretty regular again at practicing the Wu style round and square forms. What I'm not doing enough of is practicing some of the foundational exercises like Tai Chi Walking, Wujifa's Side to Side exercise, or my beloved zhan zhuang (or "standing stake").

I know from long experience that if I keep my head in the right place and take the opportunity to practice whenever that opportunity presents itself, instead of waiting for conditions to "be right," I'll gradually be right back on track. That will include those foundational exercises I seem to have trouble fitting in right now.

I usually get a lot of reading done when I travel. After knocking off the current National Geographic on the airplane, I started in on one of my favorites for the coming Halloween season, The Essential Dracula, by Bram Stoker, annotated by Leonard Wolf.

There should be a lot of good movies to watch this month. The Mummy Movies, with Brendan Fraser and Rachael Weitz   have been on TV. I can look forward to the original Dracula, the remake Bram Stoker's Dracula, the Frankenstein movies with Boris Karloff; the Mel Brooks classics Young Frankenstein and Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and if we're very lucky, the Abbot and Costello Meets ... films.

What are your favorite books and movies for the Halloween season?

I need the distraction. I'm still reeling for the news that my Nigerian benefactor may not be all he seems.

I'd like to bring a couple of Wu style taijiquan related blogs to your attention. The first one is called the Forum for Traditional Wu Tai Chi Chuan, and is run by students of Ma JiangBao, who is one of the grandson's of the founder of Wu Taijiquan, Wu Jianquan.

The other has to do with the "other" Wu style, also known as Wu/Hao style of Taijiquan, Danilo Marrone's blog. Please pay a visit.

My oldest daughter is back working on her master's degree. She's taking an accounting class right now, and inspite of her generally not doing well with numbers, she's at the head of her class.

The youngest daughter is doing well at school. It's a challenge to manage being a brand new freshman student and playing a sport. She's been playing well, but the team is currently in a 9 match losing streak. The coach intends to shake some things up, so with hope we'll see the positive result of that in this last month of the season.

One of the volleyball dads is the groundskeeper for a golf course. What a great job (easy for me to say; I bet he has his complaints about his work just like the rest of us)!

The Mrs continues to look for work. She applies, she interviews, it seems to go well, ... and the cycle repeats itself.

A direct job opportunity that I once thought I had in the bag but evaporated, seems to be coming back to life again. With hope, this time it will happen.


walt said...

Hey, welcome to the Northwest! Lots of room for Kung Fu Hermits in these parts!

I actually moved to the Northwest for the specific purpose of practice. Heaven knows a person generally would not move to this area for economic reasons, unless "voluntary simplicity" was part of the plan. But for an environment that supports stillness and lots of oxygen, without interruptions from neighbors, it serves quite well.

Hope you enjoy where you're at!

Rick Matz said...

Thank you. As I said, it's simply beautiful here.

If one was looking for a place to et away from it all, Nelson would be a strong candidate!

Al in Vancouver said...

Welcome to B.C. Try and enjoy yourself while you're here.

Rick Matz said...

So far, so good. Another of my colleagues lives in Victoria and drove over.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear all the good news!