We’d gone to a massive ceremony celebrating the presence of His Holiness Je Khenpo, this, actually, being at the end of the trip, the end of a day so long and filled with experiences and adventure, that I’d thought really — both: “why not?” “But, how can I?”

There was something awry to our connections there — Tsewang, the guide, had negotiated with the leadership guarding the entryway into the sacred space where HH Je Khenpo was intoning his lines of  prayer; and there was an entire litany of monks, Bhutanese lay persons, political and Dzong figures, and hundreds of praying, prostrating people. Something, expectant — that vibe, there. But there’s something about the idea of some westerners being allowed to connect with HHJK that is troublesome — and Tsewang is disturbed, trying to make the introductions.

Finally, we are allowed ingress, but only in the most specific way — prostrations to HH, then to a massive golden Buddha, lined with dignitaries in the inner sanctum, who’ve had the character like they were merely having an afternoon chat session over tea. We leave and as we go, there’s a gong — and a crowded rushing to all the altars of the interior chambers — everyone, even the monks, are scrapping and grabbing offerings off the tables, sliding them — en masse — into their carrying bags. And what for, this? To share the blessings with others in their villages.

Not that I’d ever seen anything like that, before…

Hungry, they are. Spirit and otherwise, nurturing gathered…