Thursday, November 27, 2008

Goodbye Comfort. Hello Open Road

I have been at the monastery in Belgium for over two weeks now.  

 It has been nice.  Oh my goodness. It has been nice.   

My long cycle through France to get here was an intense exercise in existential uncertainty.   Day in and day I knew not where I would sleep or eat next, nor shower, nor wash my cloths.  Everything of course worked out marvelously, but it was a tad intense.   It was in this state that arrived at the monastery.   I marveled and beamed gratefullness at everything from the small cot to the warm showers.

Not only have I had three square meals a day, my own room, a killer WIFI connection, my own wood paneled office with vaulted ceilings, showers any time of day, and even laundry access, I've had a limitless supply of coffee and Belgian beer!   

And the monks really seem to like having me around.   They've taken pleasure in introducing me to the many other visitors and groups that have passed through.   A handful of these grand encounters I've recorded on the blog.

Normally visitors can only stay a week.  They Monks have more than bent the rule for me and have insisted I stay longer to wait out the bad weather.  Not to mention, their help with my teeth and our late night talks about art and life.  They still insist that if I wish to stay longer, I can.

Yesterday, Pere Jaques and I took a walk through the woods around the Abbey.   Its beautiful out in the expansive fields, orchards and forests of the monastery.   He lead me to a cabin in the woods-- a hermitage.   Equiped with a wood stove, kitchen, electircity, fire wood, bedroom and all the fundamentals.  He was basically offering to let me stay here over the winter.  My own place.  No rent, free meals down the path.  Electricity.  Gorgeous location.  

Alas, there comes a point where one must push on from comfort. 

My journey and the open road are calling me.   Iam reminded of some lines by Walt Whitman.   

"Allons! we must not stop here, 
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling we cannot remain here, 
However shelter'd this port and however calm these waters we must not anchor here, 
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted to receive it but a little while.

...Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe -- I have tried it -- my own feet have tried it well -- be not detain'd!

Its cold and snowy outside.   I leave with only my summer sleeping bag and gear that just barely was sufficient during the Fall.   Yet, the road beckons.  What lays before me I know not.  I leave restored physically, spirtitually and dentally.  The 1Mandala project has progressed in leaps and bounds.  My cloths are clean, even my spice container is refilled.

The Unknown looms before me.   It offers no promise save that of no more comfort and of mystery.   Definitively daunting,  my heart beats faster and my palms sweat.   

Yet, the Unknown beckons.  

Allons!  On the Open Road towards Brussels I now head!

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