I decided not to ask Sen any questions about the subject of him being more than a couple of thousands of years old. I didn’t think that it was so weird. After all, to meet a person that I might dare think is immortal doesn’t seem so odd.
I walked towards the huge window on the west side of the room and I saw that it had a sliding door, and outside, a beautiful balcony made of very thick logs. I stayed behind the window though, fearing that I’d freeze alive if I stood outside. Sen was sitting on a rocking chair on the opposite side of the room from me, but he got up to light the little wood burning stove that was in the corner.
“Some tea?” he asked while putting a kettle with water, on the stove.
While feeling comforted by the warmth that the stove produced for the whole room, I nodded to him and continued staring at the landscape outside through the window. My eyes followed the river that meandered between little hills and I remained in silent meditation for a while, until Sen approached to me and handed me a cup of tea that had this so typical smell of Japanese mocha tea.
The afternoon passed serenely, and I remained by the window until sunset. Thinking. Letting my mind wander the kingdom of imagination. All of a sudden, a quote from Nicholas Roerich, a Russian painter that I admire, came into my mind;
“In Beauty we are united,
Through Beauty we pray,
With Beauty we conquer.”
“That’s it”I thought. “That’s going to be my mission” I didn’t realize that this time I was talking aloud, and so Sen replied to my surprise “What is your mission, Ilan?”
“My mission, Sen, is to stand for Beauty at all times, and share it. Share it with every person I meet in the path. I think that maybe, this will lead me to Shangri-la, wherever it is.”I felt calm after I said that aloud.
He looked at me with teary eyes “I think that’s a most honourable mission,”he said. “By the way, I think you should get ready. The Ceremony is about to start.”
Sen explained to me that I didn’t need to take everything at the moment, and when I asked him if Shobogenzo had to come too, he said “Just the doll, and this” he handed me a little round wooden box with a jewel on top.“That’s a little gift from me to you, so you don’t get lost at any time in your travels”
“How does it work?”I asked, curious about the functioning of this new item.
“It’s a compass. I’ll explain later. But take it with you at the Ceremony, as it will show you the way of your first destination.” He explained.
“Thank you!” I said and gave him a big hug.
“Ha ha ha, Ilan! You are just like all the Misaki I’ve known so far! Now go quick and don’t make the other travelers wait for you!”and waved at me while I ran downstairs, holding tightly with both hands, my doll and my very special gift.
I ran down the street around the corner and only stopped running when I reached the threshold of the entry door of the Journey Hall.
(Making of the doll: altered doll. I just saw fabric around her.)