Anne challenged me to leave my mark somewhere, whether a surreptitious scribble in cement or a self-identifying scratch somewhere memorable. I picked this challenge in Bhutan, whose bucolic valleys and towns I was reticent to deface with my personal etchings.
So I chose to leave my mark in the way that many other Bhutanese do: with prayer flags. Prayer flags scatter the country across perilous passes, windy roads and treacherous terrain. Traditionally, they are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom, and as the wind blows through, so do prayers, mantras, good will and compassion. New flags flutter with the weathered and torn, as bringing new and old together symbolizes a welcoming of life’s changes and an acknowledgment that all beings are part of a greater ongoing cycle.
Tashi, Lama-driver extraordinaire, tied our flags together and recited mantras as he joined them with the other flags on the pass. As we stood and watched our flags flutter with the others, he consecrated them and bowed his head.
While I may not be able to pick my flags out of the crowd, that, I suppose is the point. The more they flutter and fade with the others, the more beneficial they will be.