Monday, July 8, 2013

West End Blues

For the kids in Quincy

Presently I'm sitting in the capital of Thimphu on the second floor overlooking main street at an Internet cafe. I just stopped in to the Swiss Bakery for a meat roll and saw Becky hanging out her window at Ambient. Like the Rads we opt for separate hotel rooms.

Thimphu can be vexing for me but it does have some perks like burgers and pizza. Unfortunately its expensive and overall its a nice place to visit especially when my family was footing the bill. Thanks guys! Traveling in Bhutan actually makes me appreciate my village all the more. In fact this trip is clarifying things in my mind as I remember how grateful I am to be a volunteer in a place few people even visit or have heard of. Tomorrow I look forward to meeting my class topper Tandin from last year who moved to Thimphu. We will take tea and catch up which will be nice.

Its been a good few days as Becky rescued me from my self made discord in Paro. We made a pilgrimage up to Tigers Nest in a driving rain storm. We were chilled to the bone but enjoyed the blessings of the holy monastery I visited all of my favorite rooms in the vast Lhakahang getting blessings and prostrating to Guru Rinpoche. Its always a different trip up there and on this soggy day we made the trek alongside a group of Indian men and an assortment of Bhutanese. On this day we were the only yanks on the mountain for sure. Tigers Nest clings midway up a vertical cliff above the glorious Paro Valley. Its about a three hour hike from the parking area through mossy pines following switchbacks for most of the route. Eventually a pilgrim must scamper over stone steps and bridges to reach the monastery. The whitewashed edifice is adorned with intricate wood carved windows adorned with carved and pained tigers, snow lions, and other auspicious symbols. In the various temples are impressive statues of The Guru in his different manifestations along with other iconic Buddhist figures. One upper chamber has a trap door revealing the dark cave that GR meditated in. He flew to the spot on a flying tiger that was actually a transformation of his consort Yeshi. It might be like me turning Morgan into a turquoise horse and flying to Half Dome. If I had the incantations I might summon her now to fly me to the barn to soak up the last notes of festival.  For Becky and I the temple was shrouded in mist that veiled the waterfall splashing across the abyss into a bottomless pine chasm. If only I could describe it in better detail but how to elucidate a feeling that tingles your marrow. All I can tell you is that this is where I feel the Guru's presence manifested as the present moment. The DNA of enlightenment is decoded in each moment if we can only open up to that force. But in the thin air that oneness impregnates my heart and what a boon to enter that holy space with a dear friend. Meanwhile I spun wheels for all my peeps back in the Sierras and all around the world and I said a prayer for all sentient beings.

We spent the afternoon under partly cloudy skies visiting the magnificent Paro Dzong, an ancient Lhakhang, and Drukyel Dzong. The Paro Valley used to be part of Tibet before Bhutan wrangled it away. In summer the valley is transformed into a verdant paradise with Himalayan weeping willows lining the swift river. The hills are laced with pines while green rice patties cover the valley floor. During monsoon grey clouds sag over the peaks dulling the iridescent green. Ah the shades of green spilling out in bushels of cannabis and those delicious willows that have sprung from the earth like magic.

We returned to Thimphu the long way via Haa. To reach Haa one mus drive over a 13,000 foot pass. On the way up the twisty road we were treated to spruce trees with deep green bows dripping in fairy moss. Well I had my pixie in my pocket and things were about to get interesting. This whole vacation I have felt a half step behind in my timing. When we reached the pass I had to piss and while I was watering the bushes Becky met some Japanese tourists who were searching for blue poppies. To find a blue poppy was a dream of mine whilst in the Kingdom. These rare flowers were only discovered last century and bloom once a year usually above 14,000 feet. Well somehow there was supposedly a batch just off the road so we joined the group and hit pay dirt.

My heart rejoiced as we found several lone poppies dripping in dew among the alpine scrub. These delicate specimens bloom only once in their lifetime and then die. These were very small due to the low elevation but the lilac petals were wide open revealing a yellow inside. There was a indefinable ethereal quality about the lonely flowers, a direct link to god or the UNIVERSE. In their delicate beauty all else melted away much like the moment when one realizes they are in love. A love so powerful that it may only bloom briefly then die forever. But that doesn't matter it is the rarity and profound beauty that which is given context only by death and decay. The riddle of life the transient quality of love all contained in that flower. All I could do was kiss it on the petals and let it go.

1 comment:

  1. THE BLUE POPPY FOUND YOU!!! Revel in that rare gift, my Man! The pictures you send portray the paradise side of your current home. Always a treasure pleasure to read on you. Be well!