Each of us on this trip almost didn’t come. It was a detour from our normal flow. But we plunged in anyway and every day has held unexpected great adventures like a first run on a complex and fascinating river. We’ve used the metaphor of the river of life a few times – how the situations and surprises of life appear and we choose our responses like river rafters with paddles deciding how to handle a river rapid appearing around a bend.
We counted a half dozen such wild episodes on Baba Hunt Day #2, for example, when we encountered street musicians and searched for some Sadhus and had fireside tea with them and then witnessed a fiery sunset over funereal burning and then had to abandon our bus in traffic to walk muddy streets back to meaningful discussions over a Boudha dinner overlooking the Stupa there. All amazing detours in the moment because we went with them with gusto rather than avoiding or resisting them.
We sat together tonite as night gathered next to Bhaktapur’s centuries old temples and palace at our last ‘Ashrams And Artisans’ group dinner. Cheryl gave us inspiring messages on pencils, to scribe our current and now forever changed future journeys with. One said “Embrace The Detours” on it. Tired but all doggedly still in the experience, we recalled the wide range of takeaways, connections, and remarkable episodes we’ve had together along the way.
We departed dinner, wayfinding with Amrit along the ancient alleyways and pausing to observe a Newari Buddhist puja (blessing) being performed by some older Nepali capped gentlemen with their drums, symbols, and yak butter lamp. Intently Chatting in pairs like we always do, we nearly walked into the rising water that suddenly appeared in our path. “What’s happened?, asked Claire to a Nepalese ‘watcher’ waiting in his car. She expected a reason why there was a deep pool blocking our way. “The road has a lot of water on it”, was the not-so-enlightening reply in Nepali.
During our evening explorations, monsoonal rain upstream had caused the previously minimal river to flood and now our way back to our hilltop guesthouse was blocked by deep fast flowing water. Amrit gamely looked for detours in the darkness. A wall appeared just above the rising river. So we detoured, tightrope style, about 50 meters atop the wall to circumvent the rising tide and regain one of the few bridges that would get us “home”. The picture with this yak is all of us on the bridge, having just embraced one more poignant detour, as monsoonal waters swirl below us like our lives that are forever changed by this Dragons experience. Embracing the detour, we headed up the hill to mark our shared experience together by firelight and then off to slumber.