We met a couple of men on the road, one of whom Dad knew through his mother’s involvement in the Buddhist community. It often seems to me that I spend my life leaving places and people; I made wonderful friends in Elementary school, but some moved to different cities or went to different High Schools and many of us drifted apart. The same thing happened in High School and in College, at various jobs I have had and with various hobbies I’ve pursued. I am always leaving. It’s interesting for me to see that come full circle and to watch Dad interact, however briefly, with the past.
DM showed us the stupa and Grandma Elfie’s final resting place. They had planted a kauri tree to mark the site. It was very peaceful sitting there, in the shade of the forest. Very quiet. I wonder if the solemn feeling I notice at graves are the feelings I bring with me, or if the place is imbued with its own solemnity.
After visiting Grandma Elfie, we were invited to share a cup of cool water and some biscuits with DM and a friend of his, an Australian with magnificent long white hair and beard who spent a lot of time travelling, especially in India. He told us that there was a retreat going on (which I knew), that was only for men (which I didn’t know), and that if we wished to return we should call and drive up rather than walk. I got the distinct impression that his disapproval was directed at me rather than my father. He was friendly enough, though, and even offered us a ride back down the mountain. Because DM had to drive the truck down anyway so as to leave the tiny parking lot at the top of the massive hill (mountain?) empty, so I opted for the rushing wind through my hair, glorious view, and rush of adrenaline.