By the time the shuttle van pulls into the monastery grounds it, it’s dark and cool (60 F). Tiny lights indicate paths, steps, and gates. The driver warns me to keep hydrated, as the air at 7200′ is extremely dry and “you’ll quickly have chapped lips and cracked finger tips.”
Out of nowhere, a women appears to greet me “I just came by and saw you standing there.” We bow to each other: not too formal, yet oh so welcoming. We quickly establish comsmon European roots and find that we’ve hiked up the same mountain in Switzerland. Together we retrieve an envelope with my name on it: inside the security code to doors and a room key. She shows me into a large hacienda-type kitchen, right out of a Mexican movie set. We find leftover food to warm and a sink to wash my bowl. For tonight I have a room to myself; tomorrow there’ll be three of us. Since I arrived a day early, I’ll be free to roam tomorrow.
Tried the doors to the zendo (meditation hall) but find them locked: that’ll have to wait till early tomorrow morning the community gathers for meditation and chanting. Everyone I meet is friendly, curious, and welcoming; most are half my age.
I found a computer to use (an unfamiliar Mac #@%$! which behaves in a peculiar and–to me–annoying manner). I may be able to post everyday. On the kitchen wall a sign in Japanese brushwork: “Peace in one’s inside is peace in the world.”