The shepard and the goat

Photo: Geoffrey Garst, Nepal

by Jason Anders

We were hiking along the valley behind Pema Ts’al in Nepal. Sheer cliffs to the right, snaky river to the left.

Photo: Geoffrey Garst, Nepal

As we began to round the corner, in the ascent back toward the Tibetan village, and our way back to our home for the week, our paths silently crossed that of a sheep herder bringing his flock back from the river.

Photo: Geoffrey Garst, Nepal

What a striking image. Back to antiquity. Such gentle daily rhythms continue to be viable. We yielded the path. Watched the procession before us. And as we did, one young member split off from the pack. Walked straight up to Geoff’s camera, and stared directly at us.

Grinning and laughing about the bold directness of this particular member, we were astonished when it broke out in a perfect, photogenic grin!

Photo: Geoffrey Garst, Nepal

And held it, as if giving us time to get the camera setting right. Then after acknowledging this moment of contact, turned, and slowly rejoined the slow march up the slope we were all making together.

Photo: Geoffrey Garst, Nepal

How are we connected to everything that surrounds us, and in what unexpected ways? Certainly, we all existed together in that moment, if only for the duration of a camera snapshot. Could there have been a slightly thinner veil in that place? The veil that covers all things from ourselves. Did we pull back that curtain, if only a peep?

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