Aloneness (10.22) | Chele La Pass, Kilagompa Nunnery

I have this journal from 2005.

I’d started it there on the presumption that I’d be taking that to Bhutan, finishing it in 2006. But I couldn’t put the trip together, given the complexities of making it happen.

There are procedures, challenges, visas, applications that are difficult for the administratively challenged. I’m one of those. Leaving Paro, driving to Chele La Pass (11.5K m), high up in the mountains, I could see this. And it was just this kind of outpost that I’d found fascinating. How could something like this be built — how could someone conceive of something like this for centuries — and for it to continue for hundreds?

Kilagompa Nunnery is accessible only by a climb to the location; and it’s relatively easy, but staggeringly beautiful terrain. Actually, it’s a lot like the Northwest — you could say: Winthrop and the North Cascades; you could say Cle Ele Lum. And while it’s like them, it’s nothing like them.

You can see it as a grouping of tiny outcroppings, nestled in the cliffs and forest below an escarpment that rises to the ridge and pass beyond. Clouds and mist curl and twist on the edge of the buildings. There is little light showing…

As you get there, get closer, the only thing that suggests that there is life there is little wisps of smoke curling from some of the buildings — and this rips way in the roaring wind.

It’s there, in the distance, across the valley:


The last chorten, before the final climb, sun cresting over the hill.

Nestlings, blinded by light:



The way, portal to the nunnery: Kilagompa.


The sun retreating, prayer shafts of light, saying good bye, to this passage.



The character of the structures, teetering yet rooted…






The portal of the prayer wheels:






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This picture was taken by Dawn Clark.

The nuns, pet and spaces…









The sun gone, mist prevails, evening beckons:



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2 Responses to Aloneness

  1. Hi Tim: I think I met you at this time and remember so well Bhutan. Thanks for sharing your journey to the nunnery. Looks like my type of fun and adventure. Am looking forward to attending your workshop in Seattle on Nov. 10th 12.

  2. Tracy Pepe says:

    Something is to be said for not being “connected”. I find myself often sitting in the backyard with a 200 year old willow curious to her beauty. I cannot sit under her and have my phone or any of my devices, for truthfully it does not compare.

    And yet I have made friends across the sea and this great land, through the process of the Internet. The simple act of posting something that “we” may share, respecting our interest for as simple as it may be – a tweet – or blog, and it is in this space I find so much creativity in those who take the time to write and share. It is as if we have become thoughts, and electronically we hit “send” to be together. As we follow, we learn and I treasure both worlds equally.

    I am not brave enough to cross over the willow with the tweet, but maybe one day, I will sit under the willow with a friend to share a real moment and capture both worlds.

    As always lovely post, best

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