Monday, March 24, 2008
Enlightenment and Coexistence Near Aldie, VA
A giant golden Buddha, his legs crossed in a meditative pose, sits peacefully across Highway 50 from the palletized sod pickup entrance for the Virginia Beef Corporation.
I don’t feel sufficiently equipped to deal with these loaded images, so I’ll just describe my experience. I was heading east down 50, away from Middleburg, VA and toward D.C., when a mysterious glint from the south caught my periphery. (Back off. I like sentences full of directional cues.) And, yes, I had appointments in the city, but I strayed from the course and turned around at the next side road.
Pulled into the driveway and started seeing EXIT signs—a sure indication that this was a bigger operation than anticipated. Dirt parking lot with a van and a couple of cars, so I thought I might find life, but all I discovered was the Buddha on a stage about 50 yards from a classic Virginia, rural farmhouse.
It’s still a mystery to me, but on my way out, I passed a clue, a wooden sign staked to a tree with translated characters: “Welcome to Wat-Pa Nanachart”
Apparently, Wat Pah Nanachat is a Buddhist monastery for English-speakers in Northeast Thailand (yes, again with the directions). That’s not near Aldie, VA and probably way off the Virginia Beef Corporation’s radar.