Prison Bells

By Sam Dubois I have a single cell—a semi-quiet, smoke-free, private environment with a window onto a grassy area often serving as a dining room for many birds. I am also working in the kitchen half-time as an assistant in the diet department, so I am able to eat well. There is still no tofu or other soy products, but there is rice, raw vegetables, fruit, oatmeal, and a few dried spices. I am very fortunate.

I work rinsing off the metal serving trays (around 600 trays twice a day). This is a challenge. I enjoy washing them, just as I enjoy chopping vegetables, but the trays are noisy. The racks I put the trays into send them through the washer hold eight wonderful clean trays. Loud, very loud, but I clean each one of them for you and so many others that I love, as I try to contemplate the eight rightful steps along our path.

I have read about individuals who overcame distractions by meditating in caves with demons, or by a creek with a brass band playing nearby. I think I may have found an ideal place for sitting meditation just outside of the practice room of a Salvation Army Youth beginner's band. I have some concern that I may not be able to practice later without engaging someone to bang on a strip of sheet metal while I'm sitting, but I know there are many different kinds of bells.

Sam Dubois is an inmate in prison in North Carolina.

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