Friday, October 2, 2009

Fumbling Toward Ecstacy (Mt. Tremper NY)

We both, Vasili Ivanovich and I, have always been impressed by the anonymity of all the parts of a landscape, so dangerous for the soul, the impossibility of ever finding out where that path you see leads -- and look, what a tempting thicket! It happened that on a distant slope or in a gap in the trees there would appear and, as it were, stop for an instant, like air retained in the lungs, a spot so enchanting -- a lawn, a terrace -- such perfect expression of tender, well-meaning beauty -- that it seemed that if one could stop the train and go thither, forever, to you, my love ...
-from Cloud, Castle, Lake by Vladimir Nabokov

So, the monastery.
You know, the Zen one?
The monastery I've been talking about for, like, a month, in that very calm, sort of centered, Humble-Woman-on-an-Important-Journey voice? That one?
Didn't happen.

Went to Woodstock instead.

I can explain.

See, I left Bard on Sunday morning with every intention of arriving at the Zen Mountain Monastery in time to present my oh-so-humble, holy self to whomever was in charge of dispensing wisdom to wandering Jewesses and the like, before attending morning services. From there I would wander ever-so-intentionally around the grounds, nodding sagely at the various statues and shrines until casually entering into conversation with whichever intriguing stranger the Universe had planted for me to meet. My guide would then point me in the direction of my next path -maybe even the path!- and I would leave the monastery wiser, purposeful, and coated in the sort of incense-scented fairy dust that signals imminent enlightenment and general Omm-ness.

As you can see, I had a plan.
At this point, I think my ascent to Enlightenment can best be explained through the following visual:

To make a long story short, I couldn't find the Monastery, and determined that the fact that it wouldn't appear on my GPS was a sign that my plan, as obviously brilliant as it was, was not about to happen. So, in the grand tradition of several 'Jessie Goes Up the Mountain' moments, I found a mountain and went up.

And it was perfect. Scary perfect, actually, in that as soon as I got out of the car and into to misty, rainy woods, I found them so full of wisdom and lessons that I got a little intimidated. I don't feel ready to learn all the healings that the trees are so often willing to teach. And there were definitely paths in those woods that I didn't want to be able to see. But I did learn a little healing magic, and when I left I came away with far more questions than I had answers to.

And that, my friends, is a theme I'm getting used to.

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