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The Monastery in the Woods

March 13th, 2012

I dreamed again of the ruinous Buddhist/Benedictine/Mayan monastery in the nonexistent rocky wilderness off High Street in Westwood. It’s been a long time.

Awed visitors meandering through hilltop temples and colonnaded passages came upon apocryphal relics of their own past, worn objects invested with vast emotional weight from childhoods half remembered but never lived. A tyrannosaur-headed throne presiding over a room full of plaster skeletons with windows looking out on stony, forested cliffs. A white-shrouded dining room crowded with old books and toys, the air aglow with dust motes. A corked ceramic bottle in the shape of a precolombian idol, the effervescent drink within a swirl of heady beer and butterscotch liqueur. All of it carrying the atmosphere and reverence of a shrine.

My father walked with me, quietly affirming the truth of these fictional histories, and I thought of giving up worldly pursuits, donning a brown habit like the holy men I’d seen, in order to curate and protect these mysteries from the encroaching world and those who would shatter their significance with questions.

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