As much as I have been trying to savor each moment, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to a day off, and today it arrived! Most of the students rode in jeeps the hour to town (Rishikesh), but about 16 of us stayed behind. I was one of those not traveling, in part due to some intestinal purging that made me think I shouldn’t be trapped in a jeep for an extended period.
Instead, I hiked with a few others up the mountain we look at every day, to a small village at the top where I felt like I had stepped into a painting of a time long past. The bold colors of clothes, houses, and fabric tied to stakes flashed across the terraced hill, bright against the greenery. The hike up and down was not for the faint of heart, as much of the ‘up’ was on stone steps covered in gravel and leaves with a significant drop if you slipped, and the ‘down’ was pretty much a gravel slide down a watershed that must be roaring in the rainy season.
One of our homework assignments for when we leave here is to continue a specific 11-minute meditation daily until we have done it 40 days – without skipping a day. Today was day four. I sat with two other women on the grassy bank above the river, as we did the meditation that involves holding your right arm straight out with your hand cupped as if water was spilling into it. The sound of the river while doing this particular meditation was nothing short of magical (I think Eva would have agreed).
This afternoon I watched as a woman from the village walked along the river’s edge with a bundle of firewood on her head and her goats, including a small, very vocal, kid who didn’t want to wet its hooves. Without breaking stride, she snatched up the kid with one arm and crossed the river, letting it down to run along on the other side. The dogs gave them an escort, as it seems that also falls under their job description.
As the sun sets and folks start to return exhausted from walking the city all day, I am content I chose to stay behind and unwind.