Yesterday after school, we hiked up a short pass into the lowest part of the mountains to a Buddhist temple. It is far enough away from civilization to, nestled as it is in the lush green of the mountains, seem truly spiritual–in contrast to the Christian church in town, which has a car dealership on its first floor. From afar, the temple looked really old, but when we arrived there, we learned it is newly constructed and part of a planned development of a whole, for lack of a better word, complex of religious buildings. In a house next to the temple lives a family with a number of dogs whose job it is, I conjectured, to watch over the temple, there in the outskirts of the city. Although not truly far away from a sizably populated area, I imagine such a secluded life as peaceful: a true path to transcendence.
The path up to the temple is lined with soybean plants: I stooped to pluck a few of the beans from the stalk on the way back to town. They still sit, alone but not forgotten, much like the caretakers of the temple, in the bottom of my “Prada” tote bag.
Speaking of transcendence, I tasted the most amazing fruit yesterday. I purchased two mangosteens at the supermarket for what I thought at the time was a relative splurge: about 50 cents each. After some research, I discovered that they are banned in the continental US because they can carry pests. They are now available from specialty restaurants like Per Se as delicacy deserts and in juice form for about $32 a bottle. I think I tasted one last summer when visiting Susan, but the memory in no way prepared me for the barrage of sweetness and flavor that hit my taste buds last night as I bit into a sweet, white segment.
That’s all for now, I think. I’m definitely not looking forward to teaching on Saturday.