A K MIMI ALLIN
“Tahoma Kora” was a 36-mile, 65-day, solo prostrating pilgrimage around 14,410’ Mount Rainier in Washington. A pilgrimage is a spiritual endeavor meant to cleanse your soul. To prostrate means to lay your body down in humility and adoration. My body, my spirit, and Nature were the subjects of this work. Pilgrims in Tibet and India make long spiritual journeys to gain merit and wipe away the sins of a lifetime. I did it to find the sacred in the landscape and in myself, to challenge my relationship with the land. I did it to say, look if we can fly to India or Tibet and be in a place we think sacred, we can also find it underfoot. What gives rise to the sacred if not us? Let us look out our window and see the sacred right here in our landscape. I began “Tahoma Kora” on June 25 and ended on September 20. Every three steps I knelt and prostrated. It took seven hours to travel one mile. I lived in a tent and cooked on a camp stove. Working in a National Park meant hiking an additional 270 miles and biking 50 to achieve my goal (permits, regulations, logistics). While prostrating, I recited mantras (mantras and monetary support were provided by patrons with whom I shared my karma). I attracted 52 supporters whose names I carried on my leather pilgrim’s apron. Over time, I felt the sacred awaken in me and sensed a deepening intimacy with the mountain. Fear was replaced with fascination and aggravation with gratitude. I began to meditate on how to turn those things that take me out of the world into tools that bring me back. I vowed to continue my transformation when I returned to the city, but everything there had already changed-my life, my relations, even my art. After such simple, profound living, being where my needs were so easily met brought confusion. Instead of feeling centered, I felt lost. It came as a surprise to me that my art did not cross philosophies or economies, but was hemmed in by circumstances and demographics. It was nothing to my spirit, but my artist felt crushed and sat with no reason to create, in the same studio where three months earlier I had conceived of the kora. What followed was a fallow time and after that a total reorganization of my artist.