Wisdom of a Soggy
on oolong chai and mango lassi in a city with a 1300 year history. Nara. Five story
pagodas and incomparable
architecture. Lanky and limber bamboo
stretching toward the misty skies on rooted tiptoes.
Smells of fish, pickled melon, and incense
emanating from every corner. Dancing koi
chase frogs lounging on damp moss. Who
am I crouching in the rain amongst the beauty and serenity of such
history? As I kneel on the last dry patch
gongs ring to awaken the gods proclaiming: Hear
my prayers of thanks. I am here. The resonance fades into the rhythmic and
rich melody of thankful prayers, filling my ears and soul.
are used as walking sticks for fear
of the slightest sprinkle. Even within
the temple grounds, umbrella-toting monks pass from pagoda to shrine
for the first drop. The drizzle turned
to rain and then into downpour, and on cue all
umbrellas opened wide
faces and torsos.
refused to let
me sit in the rain – a Buddhist monk, scuffling down the path to bring
umbrella. A crazy American girl with a
dazed, glassy gaze hunched in a downpour filling up
her journal. What absurdity!
it was exactly where I needed to be. Ted
Bestor mentions in his “Doing Field Work
that the object of study – of observation – must
choose you, and then
learn how to expand from that point. In
a matter of minutes, I turned from the observer to the observed – my
chose me. The giggle of a monk is pure
heaven – a slice that always manages to fit snuggly in your heart. Was it just an umbrella, or was it a mode of
non-English ears I explained that I welcomed the rain.
Transaction: incomplete. To a
beating heart and pulsing soul I explained
it loud and clear. I put my journal
down, bowed, and then began dancing with Earth’s best dancer –
second best – a soaked giggling monk.