Raw, adjective: 4. painfully open, as a sore or wound

What a funny little world.

So I'm walking home yesterday afternoon after running some errands downtown. By now I'm an expert at weaving my way up Nob Hill on the flat blocks, cutting across here and there to avoid the 45-degree angles and finagle my way home. It's sunny, 4 o'clockish, and suddenly there on Post St. I'm hit with sidewalks bursting with people, security detail wherever you look, and mad police presence. Something's going down outside of the Westin St. Francis.

And then I notice it: maybe a quarter of the crowd is wearing the familiar burgundy robes of Buddhist monks and nuns. The red and the gold, the shaved heads, all of it. Turns out the Dalai Lama's in town, and he's arriving any minute to settle into his hotel for the night before leading a big workshop over the weekend. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the street clears, a motorcade rolls up, and the men in black hop out to guard this smiling radiant icon of an old man. And suddenly there's the Dalai Lama 20 feet across the street from me. He waves (at me individually, no doubt, right?!?), kisses a few babies, rests his hands on a few heads. All the while emanating this gorgeous childlike joy.

And then he goes inside, flanked by big men on every side, and the crowd disperses, and the moment's over, and it's just another busy street on another spring day in San Francisco. And I walk the rest of the way home feeling humbled and grounded and not quite so pensive as before.

(This never would've happened in Nebraska. Just sayin'.)

I'm glad for the random run-in today. This week has just felt, well, heavy, somehow. Sunday marks two years of my father being gone, and while the anniversary is thousands of times easier to bear this year than it was last, everything still feels a little noir, a little dense, a little dark. Easy to get caught up in that headiness and lose myself in it. So I'm glad for a little reminder of the Buddhist maxim to be in the moment - let it go - and let this, now, be enough. Dad was always great about that, and even though he was inspired less by Eastern philosophy and more by a kind of no-bullshit Lutheran farm boy's simple gratitude, I always feel his influence when I'm reminded of that.

Enjoy the weekend.


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