It’s past 11 PM and it is already bedtime in the hermitage located in the northeast of Romania, deep into the wild Carpathian Mountains. I can smell the mixed scent of different people’s shoes: it is a blend of something scathing, bitter and sweet, as weird as this sound.

The smell floats all over the room. Around 15 construction workers are already sleeping in the attic of the hermitage where me and a few other high school companions spent two nights. The air is stuffy and unbearable. With bated breath I could hear one snoring, while falling into a deep sleep, other just knocking a nod while thinking about his family, his cows and sheep at the farm, his worries, dreams and hopes. Everyone is so tired from heavy day work, that don’t feel the need for any conversation, so eventually all of the workers end up sleeping by midnight.

My colleague fell asleep as well. I don’t watch him straight, but I could hear his breath slowing down and becoming more and more heavy, ending up in a loud snort. I remain alone in this dark room, together with more than 15 people. It’s too dark to count them all, so there might be a few more that I miscalculated before, when there was still a little bit of light coming from some angles of the room.

The hermitage looks splendid during nighttime. Since I can’t sleep, my mind goes wild, together with the animals from the mountains and I keep thinking about the monks I had dinner with a few hours ago. I go out at night, it’s a beautiful weather, a little bit chilly, but perfect to refresh my lungs. My feet touch the moist and fresh grass, which shines on moonlight. While I have a cigarette, I lay down the grass and I can feel the coldness of the earth. The smoke from the cigarette goes up and it kind of looks like the breathing of a wild ancient beast, howling to the moon. I wait a few seconds more and I finish the cigarette. My thoughts are with the monks who live here daily, at this sort of wild monastery where there is nothing else except calm prayers to God for a better world. I can still remember the frost sight of one of the friars I earlier met. There was only a few seconds, but I could see fascinating, almost hypnotic and wild eyesight. His face looked like he was in a trance, even though his body was ‘normal’, as he passed on me. Long beard, a pair of clear eyes, a serious and solemn figure, all dressed up in black with a hood over his long hair, mumbling prayers with his rhythmical hunchbacked walk.

This was my first pilgrimage by accident, and while I think about it now, I realise that it comes along perfectly with this album made by the Doom/stoner metal band Om. Play it with care, treat it with kid gloves, consume it open and get absorbed by its intriguing own reality.

Tracklist:

1. Pilgrimage
2. Unitive Knowledge Of The Godhead
3. Bhima's Theme
4. Pilgrimage (Reprise)