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Nepalese Notebook: September 8th, 2014

September 8th, 2014

Chitwan

Chitwan: the Nepalese Terai, the land of the Tharu.  These are the lowlands of the Himalaya, a vast jungle filled with rhinos, tigers, and crocodiles, interspersed with the irrigated fields of the natives.  From Kathmandu it is a 5 hours bus ride along narrow and sometimes precipitous roads in which the drivers take every advantage of passing one another regardless of blind curves or the stories of overturned buses only days before.  And yet the driving is not reckless; for when you see your driver passing another bus without any hope of gauging a head-on collision, you are able to find in his unshakeability a small comfort, knowing that the danger he has put you in, he may now save you from, as he swerves back with amazing dexterity only seconds before another bus would have brought upon your ruin. This is only one of the shocks though; the city of Kathmandu itself holds more than one could ever imagine; danger becomes no more than an inability to understan…

A Poet's Journal: September 23rd, 2013

September 23th, 2013

A flock of geese passed on the 20th--only the second to date, the other being sandhill cranes.  The 22nd marked the equinox and the moon rose with such grandeur that I was able to follow the contours of a crater with my binoculars until it was enveloped in the earth's shadow.  It makes us wonder what things we would see if we could only look hard enough; or rather, if we could focus our mind on one thought with such illuminating perception, what would our view from the earth look like and where the paths of migration lead?
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: September 18th, 2013

September 18th, 2013


The prospect that lies before us is one of invariable gaiety and I say this not because the light lays long upon the hills or the colour of the horizon changes into some inebriating spectacle, but because, at this time, those solitary and lonely birds that fly so far from our view we cannot give them a name, those whom no eye captures, but hears, now make themselves known in the flocks that appear from the window.  How must the heart swell in perseverance and fortitude when neither anticipation nor worry keep him close to the tops of the trees, but only a long and very ancient chant to urge his mind to some far-off dwelling!  Now on the fence-line singing of an evening tale, he swirls in the air to those who are the beginning and the end of his sentiments, and amidst the change and steady hold of our surroundings, flies across the distant sky to his existence.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: September 15th, 2013

September 15th, 2013

I missed a chance to go berry-picking last week, yet determination is ever eager for the future, and by next week's sunrise, I believe my hopes will have found a habitation for their movements.  It is almost too pleasing to know why I haven't gone, for being so disappointed in my last outing, I prefer the harvest of former years, and tell myself my gatherings have never been the same since nor will be, and so my perfect contentment to see the berries grow and die in the most inharmonious way.  Yet this has not left me in the least way paralyzed, for I have moved on to mushrooms, finding a few bolets and girolles, and instead of feeling the growth of a season fading away, have turned inward, to the distant pages of quiet thoughts, and speak to myself in a manner that is only pleasing to the barren field or solitary listener.  And yet, were these to offer any sort of reward, they in themselves would lose their flavor, and the cycle of life be but a mis-step …