I arrived at Land of Medicine Buddha two hours early but still able to register and move into my room. Since then I’ve been writing and waiting for my roommate to arrive. There are people here from around the world. I wasn’t expecting that. A woman traveled from Hong Kong, there are several from Europe and Canada and many from across the United States. Californians are in the minority.
All the worry that filled my head before leaving Palo Alto did not materialize. I did not crash and burn on Highway 17 and I did not become lost. Everyone else brought as much luggage as me. And everyone is very, very friendly.
Land of Medicine Buddha is tucked away off of Prescott Road outside of Soquel. It feels remote and yet Soquel itself is only ten minutes away. There are several main buildings clustered together – rustic dormitories, a reception area and shop, meditation rooms and a dining hall. It’s like camping for Buddhists.
I met Paul and Suzee right away. Actually – I walked right past them, failing to recognize the follically challenged Paul with a hat on. They’re lovely and welcoming and Paul’s peculiar laugh rings out across the camp.
After unpacking and swearing to Suzee that I did not – under any circumstances – want to know where I could find a wireless connection I brought out my notebooks and wrote the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper.
But the beautiful day worked its magic. It’s warm and sunny. The sky is sparkling blue and from my perch I looked up through the leaves of a plum tree made ruby red by the filtering sun.
And then Chloe, the welcoming cat, made her appearance and I knew everything would be all right.