Friday, 11 September 2015

magical journey

"Come outside. You have to see this!" says my husband. I'm exhausted by the grueling uphill walk to Namche Bazaar in the Himalayas of Nepal. We had arrived in darkening skies, surrounded by dense fog in drizzling rain. We checked in at the first guesthouse we found where were to sleep on narrow benches under the windows in the dining room at the lodge, up a long flight of wooden stairs.

"Seriously? I'm too tired to walk all the way down the stairs!"

"It's worth it," he says.

So down I go, my legs ready to give out at every step. The fog has lifted. The village is surrounded by high peaks topped with glowing snow. The air is crisp and clean with a touch of woodsmoke. The sky is filled with enormous stars that seem close enough to touch. From the monastery far away comes the haunting moan of the dungchen, the Tibetan long trumpet. We stand in the stillness and take it in.



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Years later.
We arrive in the evening at  "Backwater Farmhouse," an oddly named string of cottages in a small village along a Kerala canal near the Malabar Coast. We feast on southern Indian specialties and then are shown to our one room cottage on a narrow point of land.

At sunrise, chanting wakes me. I walk out onto the small deck. In front of me is a completely still body of water,reflecting the surrounding palm trees. The sky is gently lightening into pinks and purples. There is a soft swoosh nearby and a giant cantilevered fishing net rises out of the water, its operator standing in the water below. A cormorant spreads its wings. The air is filled with singing from a nearby Syrian Christian church, invisible in the jungle. This time it's me who tells my husband, "You have to see this."

I have arrived and departed at hundreds of places over the years. Many times I have arrived in the dark and woken up to unexpected wonders. Woken up to the magic that is part of our lives. Magic that catches me unawares.

 My life. Full of magical surprises I did not expect.