Oh hello dear folk.
I've just returned from a brief trip to Lamayuru where mostly I just hung out in the monastery.
I walked in after the very intense busride and saw a group of monks preparing a mandala. I've never seen this, though I've heard - it's an incredibly colourful and careful process.
I sat and watched them for nearly two hours, listening to the rattle and shake of the knives on the instrument that drops the pigment...and the hum and murmur from the monks in prayer at my back. It was a truly beautiful moment.
I was offered tea, and snacks, and friendship (it's true! one monk, Gyatso, asked me "will you be my friend?") Well OKAY!
So I was given a tour of the two other temples followed by milk tea and apricots.
I went back this morning for the 7am puja and had breakfast with them.
The busride back to Leh rattled my sense of calm...what with the NARROW escapes from CERTAIN DEATH on the mountainside by ONCOMING TRAFFIC. Jeepers. But it turns out that that's just the way it's done. So suck it up, Princess.
Anyways, I had a lot of time to think on that there bus, and realised something. I am, in fact, a walking contradiction. (isn't that a cheesy punk rock song?)
I love talking to people. Sharing stories. Smiling, and being a 'regular'.
I love being anonymous. Being quiet.
I love having a home-base. Somewhere to return to. A family to be accountable to.
I love arriving one day and leaving the next. No questions asked.
I love sharing an adventure. Making a shared story.
I love the solitude and autonomy of adventuring alone.
Now, I suppose that none of these things have to be exclusive of the other. They just highlight this need for an equilibrium. To know which route is appropriate for the moment. I am surprised, though, to feel anti-social at all. I know it will pass - probably has something to do with the smelly, shaky busride.
(that being said - I love your emails, please to be keeping them coming!)