The Master lifts the hem of his orange robes and feels the soft grass beneath his feet as he makes his way toward Eido, who stands ankle deep in the river waving at him —smiling brightly enough to please the sun.
“Master. Look at these black rocks so perfectly polished by the water,” Eido says as he hands one to his Master for inspection. “You could use them for mirrors!”
It is a brilliantly solid stone as big as the Master’s roughened palm, cool against his skin. A trickle of pristine mountain water slides down his forearm. The bottom half of Eido’s robes are wet but he doesn’t care. He’s too busy being in the moment—in the now—something the Master still finds intriguing about this boy, just like the day he met him begging on the streets in Laos—that and Eido’s seemingly natural ability to bring light into even the darkest of souls.
Eido places a small rock in his sash.
“When we remove a thing from its natural environment without asking, is it happy?”
Eido folds his hands together and looks at the water rushing around his feet.
“Look! A fish!” The sound of splashing ensues.
The Master laughs—how can he help it? Maybe he too should spend more time in the “moment”. He takes a deep breath in through his nose, closes his eyes and slowly exhales—lets go of the bad news he received this morning from Tibet, clearing a path to peace in his mind.
When he opens his eyes again he takes in the view anew, the wide turquoise river, which cuts its own path through centuries of rugged cliffs, flanked by dense forests of tropical trees that dance with conifers as wild poppies spring up to sway with them along the clay bank. All of this—to the music of the river—as she flows in harmony to the great ocean far from here—but part of everything and therefore, not really far in the grand scheme of things. The azure sky sweeps down to kiss the mountain tops in the distance and the sun is witness to it all. The Guru touches the prayer beads wrapped around his wrist and recites a short chant of gratitude.
Eido takes the rock from his sash. He carefully places it with the others—stacks of small rocks one atop the other, seven high until five pillars surround him, water gently diverted.
“I’m a temple builder!” Eido says as he laughs. He stands straight as a statue and faces his palms upward, index finger and thumb together in a standard meditative way—throws his head toward the sky wearing a grin as bright and welcoming as the day.
It’s just a faint spark in the sky at first, right above Eido’s head—barely the glint of a firefly—until it slowly and quietly grows brighter, to become a flame, then a glowing ball of light. Eido drops the rock in his hand. It kerplunks in the water. He looks at his Guru.
“Eido—walk slowly to me, please.”
The boy does as his Teacher says.
The white glowing light seems to lengthen and stretch, almost as if the sky is slowly pulled apart. Behind the sky, the Guru and the student see a silver liquid glint, like mercury in a thermometer. Suddenly, three silver discs slice sideways through the sky slit, turn flat and hover over them. One zooms closer. Strange symbols appear on its rim, almost like equations or hieroglyphics but not quite. Three beams of light pass through the Master and his student before the strange crafts zip Northwest, over the mountains near the Chinese border, and disappear faster than lightening.
Eido hugs the robes of his Guru and the man can feel this boy trembling but Eido is brave and did not run. The Guru did not think this would happen in his lifetime. He sits on a boulder near the river to contemplate what this will mean for Earth. The boy follows.
“Master? What was that?”
“It has begun,” the Guru says. “We must go. You have much training ahead of you and a very long journey.”
“A journey? Where am I going Master? Are you coming too?”
“Where you go, I will always be.”
Eido looks at the mountains in the distance, a smile no longer attached to his face—replaced by a realization that change cannot be forced or slowed. The Guru thinks. Alinas is high above the mountains of the Himalayas, near the Tibetan border, and it will not be an easy journey—but one that must be made.