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Lions Roar : July 2019
I have been to many caves over the years. It is always a special experience, but I have never had the privilege of visiting a cave that was in use. My feet seemed anchored to the ground at first. I could not believe he was offering me a moment alone in his treasure house. I felt like I needed to part invisible curtains before I could step inside. Very slowly, I walked in. I am sure that if I was living in that cave, the bar- rier I imagined was there would dissolve. But in that moment, there was a line demarcating the inside of the cave from the rest of the world, and I needed con- centration to cross over. I sat down and breathed. There was a meditation seat, some books, a shrine. The walls were covered with painted Buddhas. I wondered what the story was behind all that art. Was it produced by the retreatants? What kind of state were they in when they did it? How many hands had participated in its tex- tured creation? I sat as still as I knew how. But then I looked down and saw something that I will never forget. A thin foam mat, blue-green in color, lay unfurled by his meditation seat. It was like a well-worn yoga mat, and near the top of the mat, was his hand’s imprint. He must have been doing his prostra- tions when I had arrived. How many had he done, I wondered? Enough to leave his handprint behind. For some reason, this filled my heart with emotion. I pulled out my camera and took a picture. I wanted to remember his hand etched into his mat. Apparently, I couldn’t rely on my memory for that. I slipped out quietly and returned to the village that was just beginning to wake up. I cried the whole way down. Two months later, I was listening to the news in my car on my way to work. An earthquake had rocked Nepal. It was the earthquake of the century and took nine thousand lives. The mountain range of Langtang was decimated. I think he must have been in his cave when it happened. ♦ of your Summer Make Something www.petersvalley.org of your Summer Make of r Summer Mk Something LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 16