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Showing posts from March, 2020

A Poet's Journal: October 23rd, 2014

  October 23rd, 2014 It is tempting to believe that in the lives of the past there was never a dull moment.  Take the life of any dead poet and his years seem as minutes, and every great word or sentence that was conceived by him is as if molded into every second of his life.  There is such an ideal that goes along with it, it is hard to believe they ever took the time to cook for themselves, or do housework, or were prey to the mundane emotions of life.  Boredom, I doubt, has evolved over the centuries, but why do we not see it in them?  What makes us believe that we are so lowly we have not yet reached a state of awareness, the kind of which appeared open to the poets of the past?  It is easy to suffer, but harder to turn that suffering into something no one will ever bat an eye at.  Perhaps what we believe of the past is only our unrealized suffering coming into view.  But perhaps it all comes from our trying too hard, of our making the most of each moment; for it is all too much of

Nepalese Notebook: September 16th, 2014

September 16th, 2014 Lho 3180m.  Arrived in the buffer zone of Tibet.  The landscape has gone from jungle to high plateau in the matter of a week.  Aside from all this though, there is something more pervasive, it is as if we have crossed an invisible barrier and now the opposites that seemed so far apart--good and bad, rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, all those things perhaps which define our lives--have been gathered into one original intention, the place where all things start.  Maybe it was that the first breath, the first thought, or the first idea, came down from such high mountains.  It is difficult not to fall in to the feeling that something sacred is at work, but the contradictory nature of all things at this level of altitude, perhaps even at this level of moral judgment, is of far greater importance and exceeds any majority. Temples have appeared out of the clouds; people come back from the higher altitudes looking dazed and enter in and out of the tea-house

Nepalese Notebook: September 15th, 2014

September 15th, 2014 Namrung 2680m. We awoke with a view of the Syarang covered in snow, mountains that reach up to 6000m with Tibet just behind them.  Seeing these heights for the first time, our vision seems stunted, not yet ready to take in their massive presence, such that when we think to have found the summit of one of them, we must lift our eyes still further to see the actual spot. We crossed over to the other side of the river this morning, and on our way down we found a pepper-tree that we ate berries from, having a lemony flavor but rather overbearing taste; they are supposedly a remedy against the altitude.  After our ascent on the other side, and passing through a couple Buddhist chortans with impressive rock carvings and paintings, our trail wound along the edges of dangerous cliffs.  Arriving at the end of those, we found a group of merchants with a tarp laid down on the ground and a mound of rice in the middle, each gathering what he needed to mix with his dha