e-Postcard from Sikkim, India

April 12, 2004 

I felt like Ralphie. 

I couldn’t think of a single thing. My mind was as blank as a mid-winter Iowa cloud-covered sky. 

Ralphie, hero of the classic film, A Christmas Story, in a final act of desperation to ensure hisdream of a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas, went to visit the department store Santa, only tofreeze up when his moment on the Big Red Lap came. 

I wasn’t on the lap, but I was frozen all the same. 

I stared again into the lama’s eyes. Without judgment, black as coal, and as deep as any well I’dever seen, they looked back at me, neither projecting nor echoing. 

This was my big chance. This was as close to asking a question of the wise man on the mountaintop as I was ever likely to get. Time froze. It seemed that hours passed as I stared dumbly,unable to form thoughts, much less words. 


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