Crosby Sesshin Autumn 2011
During a sesshin everything becomes more vivid and real and I appreciate the sights and sounds of the surroundings, the food and the natural world more intensely. These photos of Crosby Hall (see pictures section) and its surrounding area reflect that experience of the beauty and tranquillity of the place: the zendo with its lofty beams and masonry, its lights and shadows and its tapestry, the Buddha presiding over the kitchen, outdoor samu on a sunny day, the Gormley statues and starlings of Crosby beach, a red squirrel and a goldcrest seen in Crosby Hall woods, and the dawn breaking over the courtyard on the final day of sesshin.
Becoming relatively still and quiet as you do on sesshin, you are more likely to see and hear the birds and wildlife of Crosby – wildlife you may not see elsewhere. After an absence of a few years, the red squirrels have returned and Gordon and I were fortunate to see one in the woods. Crosby Hall woods is home to the Goldcrest, the smallest bird in the British Isles, and also the Nuthatch. I learned to recognize the call of a nuthatch in the trees, thanks to Ian Lomas. On a last bird watching foray on the final day of sesshin, Gordon and I met volunteers from the British Trust for Ornithology who were out ringing wild birds and kindly invited us to join them. This provided a wonderful opportunity to see and photograph wild birds at close quarters, including blue tits, coal tits and even a tiny goldcrest, and then to release them when they had been ringed.
Caroline Whitehead (Teiko) and Gordon Tyrrall (Gaho)