Across a courtyard cradled by austere mountains, a dim passageway leads to an ancient room dank with whispered prayers. Dull drumbeats and the muttering of a sleepy eyed lama lull the flame of the lone butter lamp into a rhythm it cannot escape. A ten rupee note sways grotesquely in the avalokiteshvara’s hand, the benign face, unchanged against the damning corruption. Monied gods in wind ravaged valleys, golden sun playing hide and seek with hooky faith. Ancient man walks into a whirlwind of dust, and emerges with chipped edges against a framed Tibetan sky. Drone of horns, clatter of cymbals, sighs of earth. Hundreds of bronze Buddhas,housed in gilded glasses watch the notes traipse forth from a conch shell. Against a fractured beam of tentative light a young lama holds a chalice above his head. Time worn words ricochet against a cold floor. What must I hold and commit to memory.What must I let go in the glacial waters of numbing desires. Why must I return to cairn marked edges, moraine run slope of last years snow. Why must I wake in cold sweat to flutter of prayer flags and the overpowering stench of half made cheese. What must I learn in the thin air that promises nothing but offers a quiet that insidiously burrows into my deepest scars.