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September 2004
Mid Autumn on the Tibetan Plateau · 

September 25, 2004  |  Mid Autumn on the Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan plateau has the most amazing light, luminous, one has to see it to understand the spirituality of this place, inseparable from the harshness and beauty of this land. Rain clouds brush the mountain tops lightly, then the light would come thru, illumnating the grasslands, shining on the bundles of prayer flags that inevitably adorn the high places. They rustle like horsetails, the wind spreading the prayers, constant, through rain and sun and moonlight, a beautiful symbol of connection between people and landscape and spirit. One can not look at this landscape, without knowing something of the meaning of life and love.

The students are at a small village doing service work on a community center and surrounding garden, continuing the good work by Tibet Cultural group during the summer. They may be out of contact for a few days, then we'll do a 3-4 day trek either around here or to Tiger Leaping Gorge, before returning to our homebase in Kunming and starting the homestays. We also made contacts with my summer co-leaders who are teaching at an English school here, and with a small orphanage, in need of nutrition and teachers, that we'll visit in a few days, a likely long-term project for Dragons as well. It's wonderful to see the Dragons community grow again, and our young Dragons grow as well. Meghan is finally around 100% and it's great to see her spirits return; Carina, freshly 19, continues to bring us belly laughs each day; after a small bout of illness and celebrating Rosh Hashana it's good to see Sam regain his love of food; Kirstyn and Katie are the jaunty cowgirls of Kham these days; Lindsey hides not her delight at seeing everything new; Steve's comic relief and warm hugs are so welcome at the times of stress. Us leaders can not stop raving about our group, yet as it grows together it's not without difficulties, and we discussed the group processes of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing together, before leaving for the village, confident that our bond will grow stronger with time.

I stay behind in town for a day and take a long walk. There is a kind of highland bush that turns bright shades of red, and I think of where our students come from, the foliage season on the east coast that are just coming into its prime these days, and the festive colors of the ripening grapes in the lush California valleys. I find a particular valley where the red bushes are an iridescent carpet, so rich, it makes me think of a landscape made of oil paint straight out of the tube, like in What Dreams May Come. Would there be time to bring the students here? Being a leader is a little like being a parent; your awareness never completely leaves the students. Their existence is synoymous with your own.

I think also of the other semester programs in India and in the Himalayas, and the recent tragedy at Colorado University that cast a deep shadow over each of our programs. Over the mountain slope hangs a moon nearing full, here the light is so clear that moon is huge and its light is blue. It's almost Mid Autumn festival, September 28, lunar calendar August 15, an important Chinese holiday where families and friends celebrate the harvest and togetherness, a simple, sentimental holiday that's always been my favorite. As a group we will share mooncakes, and laughter that's always abundant in our group, but indulge in a little bit of homesickness as well. For everyone who's loved and lost, for everyone who continues to love, every parent and every child, everyone of the Dragons community, please know that we think of you.

Posted by yingzhao 11:09 PM | Permalink
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