Only the hungry dogs and monks were awake. Despite the hour, I pulled myself up the brutally long stairway from the valley's floor. There was a name for those stairs. Jogiwara Steps? Because there were nettles lining the walkway I made certain to observe the middle path, a move to protect my flip-flopped feet from the needle plants that whipped others daily.
I creeped through the sleeping town and broke left before His Holiness' residence. Some pilgrims were already gathering at the temple, meandering their way into supplicating postures. I noticed a glint of light coming from the interior prayer room. There, the elderly monks lit butter lamps, sending cosmic thoughts out for those who could afford to have prayers made. I purchased a lamp and asked the elder for a pointed, acutely specific prayer.
I cannot remember what I petitioned the wrinkled holy man to pray for. Perhaps his mantras were noticed by God and the universe again conspired on my behalf. Perhaps not. Either way this memory, like so many others, is now in regression.
All images taken in the lower Indian Himalaya on assorted Ilford and Kodak films (2006).