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Nepalese Notebook: September 25th, 2014

September 25th, 2014Besi Sahar 760m.
You never expect it, but the high mountains soon give way to the low, and the day comes when it is cloudy and humid and easy to forget what is near.  Everything simply disappears without importance, and even if we believe in it, have seen it with our own eyes and accept it wholeheartedly, the lapse is too great, change is too certain, and what was once a thousand year old glacier is now the fountain you drink out of.  Now it is only a busy little Nepalese town where colorful buses pass, where street vendors and shops remind you of the growing indifference of what had once seemed normal, and a fleeting sense of accomplishment gives way to restlessness.  Could we have done more?  Having the trek over is short-lived, and looking back upon the hardships of the trail reminds one of a melancholic sort of comfort that creates new adventures and even more hardships before the time it takes your muscles to recuperate from the previous journey.  Pushing onese…

Nepalese Notebook: September 9th, 2014

September 9th, 2014

A short walk yesterday evening took us through grassland and along the river Rapti.  When we had proceeded far enough from the habitations, we were met by a black rhino not but 20 meters away, swishing his tail in a rather annoyed manner until he lumbered off to a tiny mud pit into which he sank up to his belly.  
There are no boundaries in the jungle and the cries of monkeys in the tops of trees or the crocodiles that distractingly appear and disappear only a few meters away as you float down the river in a dugout, fill the gaze with a very shallow alertness that seems to focus on everything but what one is trying to focus on.  At times, our guide stood up in the canoe to point out a type of kingfisher; at others, he remained seated to let a crocodile pass, but that did not prevent some villagers from cutting fodder along the banks or casting out a net to fish.  The whole scene, instead of being impregnated with simplistic beauty, was out of place, nothing truly real, and though left behind, not wholly forgotten. We feel ourselves trying to understand or trying to interpret, but as they pass we can only grasp at it, not content with leaving it whole, analyzing and extracting, ever at odds with our perception, and always believing in a deeper meaning.  We know what it could be, but it is not that, and as we sit atop the elephant, riding along at the end of the day the various paths of the darkening jungle, our driver meticulously wraps something in a leaf and places it in the crevice of a tree we pass--I watch as the driver behind us takes it down, but for as long as I look, he does not open it.
The walk back from the river brought us across some tiger tracks, which were invigorating to examine and seemed to exude a sort of savage life, but our guide joked that the tigers were not so big in these parts.  Before arriving, we had to stop to pull the leeches off our clothes.  We leave for Manaslu and the Himalayas tomorrow.

Douglas Thornton

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A Poet's Journal: September 23rd, 2013

September 23th, 2013

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A Poet's Journal: October 7th, 2013

October 7th, 2013

To peruse the pages of forgotten books is a pastime in which I shall always partake; and though it turns out that very few sentences are actually read, the mere fixture of the words, or the subject, create an affinity in the mind apt to deeper contemplation.  Hardly can such a book be opened before we feel exist a mystic relationship with what is old, and even more so to the obscure, and far from leading us into a clear path of understanding, that same awkward and unsettling sentiment transfixes us and our thoughts drift back and forth upon the page until it is no longer the story to which we are attached, but the power of our imagination.  It is only when we feel we need to know something that words become our greatest let down; they are but a means to the mysterious--for even among the driest of archaeological accounts there remains something so unilluminating, that were the greatest poet to take up their theme, he could not inspire a finer feeling than the descrip…

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The Flute

Douglas Thornton

Ever tender and touching the moment,
When pressing himself the flute to my mouth,
Laughing and pulling me close to his breast,
He named me his rival and soon to be
Master.  My stiff and timid lips were shown
To breathe an air pure and harmonious,
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Though ever so trying, were taught to close
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La Flûte

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Toujours ce souvenir m'attendrit et me touche,
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The Wintering-Ground

Within what hut,
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Be warmed? Be there
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There is time for nothing else in this world but what we ourselves have set afoot, and finding the majority of our efforts occupied with a certain hope of reward, it is not distasteful to give ourselves pleasure with simplicity and joy in far-seeming whims.  Thus, it is the hope that, with the release of Seasons Of Mind, those of you may find in it a pleasure to your free time and a joy in reflection.

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