It’s day four in Luang Prabang. At 4 am the drums from the neighborhood Wat (temple) begin calling the young monks to rise and begin their morning meditation. Then at 5 am they sound again to signal the end of the session. I drift in and out of sleep listening to the call of the drums in my dreams. We wake just as the sky gets lighter, making the green jungle brighten and the mists from the river rise. Just before six am, we are out in the village.
Lining the sides of the road on woven mats and crouching on tiny wooden stools women are waiting to make their offerings. It looks a bit like a parade route– clusters of women and sometimes toddler sitting on mats waiting in the morning mist for the show to pass by. It’s not a carnival feeling, more like holding your breath– something is about to happen. We wait expectantly, silently.
From one direction lines of saffron robed young men some of them younger than Max, walk barefoot on the gravel road. They tread briskly with purpose. Tak Bak is the daily ritual of monks collecting alms and the women make offerings for their ancestors. Every so often monks pause beside a grouping of women and say a blessing on their house. The harmonies of the boys especially the younger ones, pull on my heart.
The monks (boys really) are trained to keep expression off their faces. They are supposed to look of to the disttace, not to be distract by things outside of their practice. But I find it nearly impossible not to greet them with smiles– and you know that those are contagious. Very often I see the boys blink, startled and smile or nod back at me. We have a very quick connection– I send “good morning” in my heart to them and they respond with theirs.
It is a bit surreal. The softness of the low lighting, the gentle mist from the low clouds and the swish of the monks as they pass us. I have not taken many photos. Perhaps it’s because my camera is not so good in the low light, but i think it’s because of the sacredness of this time. I feel like I am intruding with my camera. I prefer to sit quietly on the side of the road and the peacefulness wrap around me.
What a lovely way to greet the day.