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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: April 29th, 2014

April 29th, 2014

Wisdom is often accepted to stand for little in the times it is most necessary, leaving preference to the wanderings of mind that emit our notions of blame and discontent.  A phrase from Aurelius, or any other sage of the past, has at times whispered a solution to the situation at hand, having only to apply its advice and thereon proceed in tranquility, but in the end I have found myself more willing to sulk in my misconceptions, as a point of taking misfortune in place of something outside of my nature.  Have not the ways and pretensions of mind, for so long embedded in our habits, condemned us already to an easily conceivable fate?  Where we stand with a person or group depends on the attitude we take: to stand apart and go unnoticed is an aggression towards the common and the undertaken, so that we ultimately concern ourselves with those people who put forth the same pretensions.   'Don't be carried away rashly by the appearance of things!'--For there i…

A Poet's Journal: April 10th, 2014

April 10th, 2014

Change, and the liberation involved with it, are often spoken of as the best alternative, and the fear that all our time will be lost in doing something that is not useful to our vision of the world, is the motive for which we hold this word and its aspect so prevalent in our mind.  It is the basis of our struggle, through which our dislikes become likes, and through which the looming presence of our ideas find a subtle and ideal reality.  But what about when, through no fault of our own, our likes are turned into dislikes?  How truly liberating is change then? If it is the only alternative by which we may confront the meaningless facts of life, what shall prevent it from bringing us right back to a dead-end, but under the aspect of freedom?  Change too often becomes the sanctuary wherein our fleeting thoughts are given precedence, and is the name by which we hide our fear of the future.  Consciously, all is proven in one look or one word; for behind every decision an…

A Poet's Journal: April 2nd, 2014

April 2nd, 2014

It is hard to find something so named in our consciousness that is not subjective or open to other views and other means in other people.  It is we, who in our burdened perceptions, hold confidence in them, only to find that when they are presented to reality, their confidence in us never existed.  It is as if we have been climbing a tree, and once we get to the top, find that all the branches below us are too weak to support our descent--but how did we get up there in the first place?  We love being above our troubles and those who cause them, and even more to hand things down to them; we are the first to go, then tell them to come along, or the first to stop, and push them to go ahead.  The only thing real is the dimension of the unprovoked, neither starting nor finishing, but in our hands before we even know it's there.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: April 1st, 2014

April 1st, 2014

What is beyond?  What is behind the next hill?  We tend to ask ourselves such things, desiring more than what is seen, and wanting just that part that we've imagined, to define the things that remain in front of us.  Our hike up the hill is met with another horizon and then another, and still more beyond, so that we are led to believe that when we reach a certain point, a new and sudden expanse will give us a perception of the moment.  But our disappointment recognizes itself time and time again and our last hope is an approximation of the present aspect: the long path goes down through infinity and life hangs on the verge of something immortal.
Douglas Thornton