Contest item Taboo words
|She followed the directions Lizzy had given her, although still unsure she was doing the right thing.
Would time spent at a Buddhist convent really give her the peace her friend had said it would? The sun warmed her pale skin, a sudden sense of exhilaration filled her body. After being in the closed confines of the rehabilitation facility, Jane felt free, breathing in the fresh air streaming through the open car windows.
The nuns were expecting her, along with others, for the Spring retreat, Jane didn’t know what to expect, other than this particular retreat was to be silent.
“You have reached your destination,” the GPS announced. Turning off the engine, Jane sat in her car and looked around at the beautiful gardens which surrounded the car park. The only sound she could hear was the cooling of the engine. She leaned back, turning her neck from side to side in an attempt to release the tension from the long drive.
Taking her small overnight bag from the back seat, she walked to the imposing building’s front door. A sign, instructing visitors to take of their footwear before entering, greeted her. Slipping off her shoes Jane opened the massive, wooden door and gasped at the size of the room. The smell of incense was the first thing she noticed in the cavernous hall, the main feature an imposing statue of Buddha.
“Greetings, you’re very welcome,” a voice said, startling Jane, she turned quickly to see a woman dressed in brown robes, her head shaved. “You must be Jane? If you would like to follow me, I’ll show you to your accommodation.”
With no further words they walked outside. Putting on her shoes, Jane followed the nun along the winding gravel path, through beautiful gardens, ancient trees shaded them from the hot sun. Soon they arrived outside a small cabin, “This is where you will be staying whilst you are with us. Rest for a while, meditation is at seven, then supper, that’s when you will meet the rest of the Sisters.” The nun placed her hands in a prayer-like gesture and bowed slightly before turning around to leave.
Jane opened the door of the hut, she was pleasantly surprised to see how clean and tidy it was. The walls were painted white, the room sparsely furnished, another door led to a tiny bathroom. The place seemed to welcome her, and although it was so quiet, she didn’t feel alone or unwanted. She lay on the bed and closed her eyes.
The sound of a gong woke her from a deep sleep, at first Jane didn’t know where she was, then remembering, she looked at her watch, surprised to see she’d slept for two hours.
Making her way across to the main building she entered the huge hall, there a dozen or so brown-robed nuns were kneeling on the wooden floor in front of the Buddha.
The elderly nun who had met her earlier started to chant, the others joining in the melodic sound. After the chanting the nun introduced herself as Sister Uma, and welcomed the guests who were staying for the weekend. “Morning prayers and meditation begin at four a.m, you’re all welcome to join us. After supper, you will retire to your rooms, please remember this is a silent retreat. You are welcome to use the library if you would like to learn more about our philosophy, our beautiful gardens are also at your disposal.”
After supper they said their good nights and everyone went in different directions.The accommodations were spread throughout the many acres of the property. Each nun had her own cabin and others were for guests. Closing her door Jane got ready for bed, preparing herself mentally for the next three days of silence. I can still speak to myself I suppose, she thought. Not much of a repartee though!. She smiled, closing her eyes, listening for any sign of another human being, but there were no sounds at all. Moonlight shone through the small window, it was then she heard the sound of an owl in the tree outside her cabin. Instead of it making her feel melancholy, she felt as if he were soothing her soul. “This place is magical,” she whispered audibly, relieved no one could her her speak. Instead of feeling reclusive or outcast, she felt included and loved for the first time in what seemed forever. Closing her eyes, she listened to the call of the owl, and the warble of a magpie and slept.