Sunday, February 14, 2010

First Day of the Tiger Year

We biked randomly again today, following the sun, following quiet small roads where no one stirred, save for a wiggling Cobra that came within feet of Michael's wheels. Apparently startled, it opened its flaps at Michael. I'm glad I didn't see it.


Then it was us that was startled as we turned a corner in a crumbly village to find a lounging water buffalo. (That's me talking to it.)

We were headed to the temple with the huge seated man, but we found ourselves diverted. We were called out from the street and then ushered into an airplane hanger into the depths of a small complex to a prayer hall. A small female monk with a shaved head gave us incense and walked us up to a middle aged woman sitting in a chair in front of a kneeling congregation. She was "Mama" we we're told. We bowed twice. Then we were separated. Michael sat on the men's side and I was beckoned by the women to sit amongst them. We sat on our knees for 30 minutes with our hands held out in prayer. The woman began to chant and gently sob, which moved the women around me to cry as well. A scruffy black dog with a red envelope around its neck walked around between the congregation until one of the old female monks placed a small pillow down in front of it. The dog nestled down as if it knew it was time to be respectful. Meanwhile, a white fur ball with a bell around its neck lapped the entire room, jumping up randomly and gleefully like a baby running on its tip toes. I closed my eyes and listened to the mixture of sniffling women, chanting, pattering puppy paws on tile with its accompanying jangling bells, and the indecipherable Taiwanese wisdom coming from this old mother.

About Me