Finally getting out more to see what goes on in the valley, I visited Loyola House, a home for about 35 boys who study at local schools.

Weddings: in some sense, the same the world over. But here in Nepal, even more so.

Alex, one of the students studying here from Boston college, wanted a Pashmina shawl (special wool from here in Nepal, very soft), so a group went looking. We went to a friend of a friends' shop, Rajeesh, but they didn't have exactly the color Alex was looking for. The next day was Saturday and the shop would be closed, so Rajeesh invited us to stop by his house the next day where we could see samples and order whatever color Alex wanted. I thought that quite gracious.

Winter has come, such as it does here.
Trees are still green but the sunlight has a pale coolness
slanting low in the sky.

Fields lay bare after the harvest; fallow, waiting.
Life suspended.
The days short.
This is a time for working.

There are no flowers in sun dappled fields to call me away,

Today is Thanksgiving in America, and I have so much to be thankful for. More than I can say, more than I can carry in my heart, my life and time here in Nepal are incredible blessings. My prayer:

Good and loving God,
you we hardly know
but we see your love for us everywhere;
in the sun that shines, the rain that falls and the crops that grow;

One of the things that I originally thought would be very hard to adjust to in Nepal is the lack of hot water. My family, like most people, doesn't have a water heater.

As I leave India, I realize that I have so many incredible experiences in such a short time, that it would be impossible to share them or even to understand them. But I have just a few more photos that I would like to share, mostly because I had none of the really "normal" stuff here-cows! Cows wander all over town and are completely free to do what they want. On the streets they often cause traffic jams.

The Buddha first began teaching at Sarnath, near Varanasi. This image was in the temple there, one of the best Buddha images I have ever seen. His face. His joy. His knowing.

I wrote this in my journal:

What is religion about for me? Truth? Finding it-my truth-a way of making sense/meaning out of the world, or peace with it. No, better: a way of discerning the golden thread in life's fabric:

This and that
almost random.
Almost, but not.
Patterns, meaning,
Joy that arises,
Love that permeates

On the banks of the sacred Ganges River before dawn, pilgrims quietly shuffle about. Small circles of women drip oil and flower petals over images of gods they have just made out of the clay. Shoulder to shoulder they alternately laugh and pray, chat and sit in silence. So free and yet so choreographed, they must repeat this ritual often. Do they live near here? Is this how they start every day?

Today we went to Vulture Peak, the place where the Buddha first taught about emptiness: All things come to be in dependence upon other things. This is sometimes called "mutual interdependence."

Pilgrims passing
so many open hearts.
Open minds,
bows to the place
where the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Will any so attain today?
looking up
through the branches,
squirrels, leaves, birds, statues,
life and icons woven together,
and a glimpse of something more;
something clearer,
Then David comes
and I have to go.