We were planning a short week-end trip into the woods to enjoy some greenery: away from the punishing effect of not having the shade of a tree fall on you while you walk through the rain-parched and barren hills around our area. What we craved for, was the green of a forest so thick that you find some places where the sun’s rays have not hit the ground. We went away for a week-end to the Avenue of the Giants redwood forest area. Not wanting to do the 5 hour drive on Saturday morning, we randomly zoomed down on an area that looked about midway through and settled on Ukiah. There was a comfortable enough hotel (with free breakfast), willing to put us up for the night and off we went, fully expecting it to be no more than a stop-over town.
The next day after a lovely breakfast, the husband went over to the lady at the reception and asked her whether there was any place worth visiting near by. She said no. Never one to give up, the husband needled on, ‘There must be some place that locals like to go to, it doesn’t have to be a fancy place.”
“Well, I do like going to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas’ said the lady.
That is how we found ourselves in a Buddhist monastery surrounded by peacocks, peahens, squirrels and buddha statues. The temple inside has Buddha statues of all sizes on the walls, ceiling, pedestals, everywhere. As you enter, there is a feeling of peace that permeates the surroundings. This was also how we found ourselves surrounded by peacocks spreading their feathers beautifully and dancing. A dance so graceful I have only heard about it in poems and then you realize that nothing prepares you for the real thing. It is everything all the writers and poets say: Beautiful, charming, graceful, but it also fills your heart with joy. It makes you want to shake your neck too and dance. It makes you smile as you look into its eyes. Never mind that other folks looking at you shaking your necks think you are cuckoo. You think you are peacock, and that is what matters. A peahen on the premise stopped to gape at us for a few seconds. Distractions must be a menace for the peacock, although I could have assured the peahen that the peacock was a worthier companion for her. In any case, thanks to that distracted peahen, the peacock put up a splendid, long performance.
By the time we left for the forests, I felt like I had stepped back in time to a place where cell-phones and laptops were not intruding into my every experience, where nature taps you on the shoulder and takes you for a spin. Feeling the presence of it all. It makes you want to dance. Dance like no one is watching. And sing: sing like no one is listening.
That is Serendipity, and it set the tone for the rest of the glorious weekend.