It seemed fitting to time myself with a sand hourglass when I read the Indy’s “Tibetan Monks Return to Laguna.” These holy men are famous for creating sand pictures called mandalas one piece of sand at a time. The monks are scholars and artists from Tibet’s oldest monastery, circa 1416. They are visiting Laguna while their monastery is being rented out as an Airbnb to yak herders, who needed a break from roaming. A yak herder explained, “A night not under the stars with flatulent cows… Heavenly.”
I’m looking forward to telling the monks how long it took me to read the Indy article about them. They will appreciate that reading the article took me 30,456 pieces of sand to full hourglass to finish, or in Timex time, about 7 minutes. For readers unfamiliar with Timex watches, good news, you’re not stuck in the past, like me…“I can’t take a licking and keep on ticking.”
Preset your hourglass alarms for 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, Jan. 29 through Feb. 2, to witness these monks build multicolor sand mandalas. The work will be done at the Healy house on the Sawdust Festival grounds. Because of the delicacy of building a picture one piece of sand at a time, the monks’ sponsor asks residents with colds and allergies, who are prone to sneezing, to refrain from visiting. Instead, home visits with Etch A Sketches can be arranged.
I have contacted the monks’ sponsor to create a super mandala to be located in the center of Laguna’s only roundabout. Presently, the City Council has approved roundabout landscaping of $350,000. I’ve negotiated a better deal with the Tibetan monks, who have agreed to do the whole thing for a $100 Joseph A. Banks gift certificate and a free subscription to Hair Club for Men. The monks told me, “We are tired of the same old same old orange robes. And we want hair like Trump.”
The mandalas dissolutions are as important as their creations. It reinforces symbolically that life is fleeting and more importantly will assure the monks of a return invitation from Laguna to build another mandala to get away from their drafty monastery. A monk told us, “We are on a Tibet historic monastery list, just like Laguna’s, and are not permitted to update the facility. It is very drafty and unfit for comfortable living. But we admit it does bring in tourists. We live with this subpar housing by making chants that no one can possibly understand. Only upon lengthy academic review can our chants be translated to expose our Chinese landlords as capitalist scum.”
Crantz tells the Indy that he thought about being a monk. They asked him to take a vow of silence. “What?” he said. That’s why Indy readers are still stuck with him.