The sounds of the birds chanting their daily songs awoke me from my restful slumber. As I awoke, shaking off the effects of tiredness and sleep, I walked towards the mouth of the cave where I lived. Sunlight poured through the opening of the rock, and I emerged into the beauty of nature all around. The mountain on which my cave resided looked over the splendor of a jungle. Thick leaves and foliage of green seemed to cover the land like a carpet with untold mysteries and discoveries beneath it all. Snaking through the green carpet of the jungle is a blue snake of water, a massive river whose spirit is known to be vengeful if not appeased. The dakini of area is volatile if crossed. Members of the village must cross the river over a rusted iron bridge, but even then safety is not guaranteed. Our village lays nestled by itself on the top of a plateau about a quarter of the way between the jungle floor and the top of the mountain. We are a small village with only a nunnery, a monastery, and houses. Villagers can choose to live in the village, in the caves, or the houses that dot along the side of the mountain.

As I prepare for my day, I look around my cave, and see the various parts of my life. I am an adept and my skills are mainly located in medicine, but I dabble in rituals. Various poultices, herbs, and tools are laid throughout. In our community, I am one of the few that people trust in order to help them with their medical issues. I prepare to go collect water and firewood, necessities of life and crucial for my work. As I begin my journey down the mountain, and towards the village, I chant my mantras. The mantras provide wisdom and protection, as I look within myself, and work to appease the spirits in the area. As I walk, I see the herds of yak that are being led to fields for grazing.

As I walk, I spot Tenzin, the herder, with his daughter, and jokingly call out to them, “These yaks look better than the two of you!”

“Ha-ha, you are funny as always, Metok”, replied Tenzin

“All in good fun, can I expect some yak milk later this week?”

“Of course! After you healed my daughter 3 summers back, you know you can always get yak milk from me anytime.”

Tenzin’s daughter seemed tense and quickly muttered something to her father before going back to the yaks.

“Forgive her rudeness, Metok, she is worried about the upcoming calamity.”

“What are you talking about Tenzin?”

“The predicted hailstorm, have you forgotten?”

In all honesty, I had forgotten. The rumours about hailstorm had been swirling around, and it was the topic of discussion on everyone lips. I thought back to 3 years prior during the last hailstorm and the destruction and calamity it had brought upon the village and the surrounding area. The sky had blackened with clouds, the sound and pressure of the hail coming upon us like the breaking thousands of waves on rock. It struck with the ferociousness of a warrior in bloodlust breaking down his most hated enemies. It was as if the gods themselves were wailing and storming upon us for our transgressions.

Tenzin asked, “What do you think is responsible?”

This was the question on everyone’s mind. What had caused this damnation? Could an enemy of the village be looking to harm us? Had someone angered the spirits? Was it for the amusement of the supernatural? No one knew, all we knew was to prepare for the upcoming disaster.

“I have no idea to be honest,” I replied. “Have you gotten any of the amulets from the Deer Park?”

“Yes, I need the protection for my yaks, my family, and my home.”

“Hopefully, my cave will protect me.”

“Ha-ha Metok, you should just pick up the amulets,” retorted Tenzin.

“The journey to the Deer Park is not an easy one, and I do not have the time to change my course and my daily routine for amulets that are not proven to work yet. I will take my chances with the spirits of the area.”

“Are you so naïve, Metok,” the concern pierced through his voice. “If you choose this course, be careful.”

I continued along through my tasks and chanted my mantras. I was wary of the hailstorm, its effects, and the safety of the village; it weighed deeply upon my conscious. I thought of the teachings of the Buddha and the lamas. What would they have done in my situation? The world I know is going to be changed in the upcoming weeks, I must continue to stay strong and persevere.

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