Odd occurrences began soon after my arrival by train at Lockerbie, where I needed to connect with the bus which would take me on the last leg of the journey..
Somewhere between Lockerbie and Eskdalemuir, on an empty road surrounded by hills, the bus broke down. Having dropped off the handful of other passengers already, only myself and one other were left on the bus. While we waited for a replacement to arrive I sat staring out of the window, taking in the scenery. All was still and quiet with just a faint sound of sheep bleating in the distance, and late afternoon sunlight casting beautiful shadows. I became aware of some swallows swooping nearby, and suddenly one flew through the open door of the bus, right past me, and out again! A few moments later we were on our way..how strange!
Nothing prepares you for your first view of the Stupa as the road bends round, bringing Samye Ling into view. Next thing you know, the bus has disappeared, leaving you standing in the road, gaping..baggage at your feet. Two people are sitting casually on a wall by the entrance, laughing together quietly.
I walk around the grounds, drinking in the beauty of the evening, and new sounds - yes, the unusual experience of a sound I have never heard before..it's a first. It's the sound of the prayer wheels gently and rythmically clicking in their endless motion. A soothing and mesmerizing sound. Swallows are swooping and whistling around the Stupa.
A couple of hours later I'm lying on my bed, still listening to the sound of birdsong outside my window and wondering what the time is. Strange, my watch still says 8.30. I'm sure it said that some time ago...so I check my tablet, which tells me that it is actually 10.30! The evenings are so light here, I had not realized..and it seems my watch has stopped for good. I wonder what has caused it to give up the ghost today of all days..?!
I spend the next two days in a variety of ways. Walking beside the wonderful River Esk.. Exploring the inspirational Peace Garden, planting potatoes in the kitchen garden as part of my voluntary work, and of course time spent in the breathtaking Temple itself, The magic of waking at 5.30 am to the sound of the dawn chorus and making my way in the fresh new morning to the Temple for Tara prayers will stay with me forever..
In the early hours of the day I am to return home, the fire alarm goes off in the building where I and two other ladies are sleeping..in accordance with the instructions on our doors we gather sleepily outside in our assorted nightwear and await the maintenance man. He made all the necessary checks, but could find no fire..and no explanation as to what had set off the alarm. I thought it a fitting end to my extraordinary visit.