Stone trail in the jungle

It’s time for more immersion in nature. We head towards Doi Suthep, our local sacred mountain. There are several temples along the road. I don’t want to do a lot of driving so I turn in at the first public parking lot. There is a gazebo and a viewing deck, and a couple little trails going to a stream. Just a quick stop for tourists on their way up to the bigger temples higher on the mountain.

It’s not obvious that the trail continues on the other side of the stream, but I find it. It’s marked in stone, strong enough to withstand the ever-encroaching rain forest, yet open enough to blend in with it.

View over Chiang Mai

On the other side of the stream, it is a different world. No tourists – two other hikers go by, but I would call them adventures or perhaps pilgrims, like us. I feel that I have been called here by some sense that I cannot describe. But when I try to explain it to Esso, I say it is like a Dragon whispering in my head. It does not command, but when I have followed its suggestions, I have often found something wonderful and unexpected; so I have learned to follow almost without question on those rare occasions when I can hear it.

And now that dragon whisper tells me to turn off of the stone trail, onto a little dirt track. About 20 meters into the jungle, there is an old shrine. It’s built brick and native stone, so it’s almost part of the landscape, especially since it is half overgrown. But people have brought little statues of Buddha and other objects of veneration to keep it sacred.

I don’t have to study it closely to get the theme of the blended powers it conveys. Spirit and Nature. It is here to honor a natural power spot, with images of the animal spirits as well as meditation guides

This brings a prayer:

Honor and love to the Mother of all animalkind, Fauna
Honor and love to the Mother of all life, Gaia
Honor and love to the Mother of all compassion, Avalokiteshvara, Om Tara
Honor and love to the fountain of enlightenment, Buddha

On another section of trail, we see each tree is wrapped in a bit of saffron robe. This is an indication that the tree has been ordained as a monk. It is a signal to visitors that the tree is sacred. Most likely this route is used by monks from the local temple. It definitely has an aura of reverence about it.

When I see a hollow tree, I am often inspired to use it as an entrance to the otherworld. Look deep within, and here, in the heart of what is dying, is the most fertile soil— and life begins again

Life begins again, and grows, and thrives.
I know that I am feeding some future life from within me, rather than simply maintaining this one.
I am delighted to be alive, in the middle of all this.



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