Delirious, Jaded, Glitter

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
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A lonely traveler trudged through the steps of the rice paddy’s. She was approaching the temple delirious with hunger and exhaustion.

The journey had begun in high spirits, now, nearly at its end, she was feeling jaded.

What was so special about this temple? There were many temples in her own prefecture, what drove her to this? Enlightenment?

She reached the steps of the temple and started to climb. At the top, a figure dressed in yellow robes appeared. She hoped he would have a bowl of rice and maybe some sake.

At the top the monk gestured for her to sit at the top of the step. From inside the temple, another monk brought her dumplings, rice and water. She ate until her hunger was gone. She also realized that her mood had improved as well, but her exhaustion was making her annoyed at the monks, that they couldn’t say anything to someone who had journeyed so far and so long to reach them.

One monk beckoned her to a corner where there was a mat with bedding, just what she needed.

She didn’t remember falling asleep but she awoke and found herself in high spirits. She had completed the journey she had set out to finish and after food and a good nap, she could appreciate her achievement.

A monk came and motioned for her to follow. They walked through the temple until they arrived at a statue of the Buddha, a fat, smiling Buddha.

The woman sat and stared, closing her eyes, holding out her low but audible “ooohhhmmmm’s”, opening her eyes, fidgeting. She looked around at the other monks all sitting, eyes closed, facing the Buddha with a collective low hum of deep meditation.

She couldn’t focus. The deep satisfaction she had felt upon reaching the temple and then receiving her humble reward of food and sleep, was not matched by this, whatever this ritual was to a glittering Buddha.

At that moment, she became enlightened. The rest and food, normal and often under-appreciated necessities of life, became her deepest rewards after her journey. She could not fathom a satisfying life of stagnation at the top of a mountain simply staying put.

The woman grabbed her things and began the journey back down the mountain to her home. She looked forward to the hunger and exhaustion that would bring so much meaning to whatever food and rest she would find at the end of her journey.

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