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Nepalese Notebook: September 24th, 2014

September 24th, 2014
Bahundanda  1000m?
Short walk today from Chyamche; tropical weather, hot and humid, heavy sun.  The trail splits in two not far from Syange, where the right side of the river valley becomes wide enough for jeep travel; although upon our splitting from this, and taking the foot-path on the left, we found the road blocked and many vehicles waiting for access; further down a landslide had stalled most of the transport.  Our trail as well was hobbled by landslides from earlier in the season, with us having to wait or be waited on at certain crossings, as only a narrow path through the rubble was possible.  These parts, though not so much scary in themselves, did tend to leave an impression of the massive amount of earth that had slid down the slope, and even if the ground felt stable under foot, you could not help but feel the eerie silence that surrounded the crossing, and the relief, albeit small, as we stepped away from it. Earlier in the morning we stopped at a small…

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-houses without ceremony; goats, yaks, and donkeys err here and there; children play; there seems to be one million things going on along the one muddy path through this small village, but none of it is graspable, none of it describable, and we walk, but only a few steps from our place, looking up, taking pictures, pointing things out, completely oblivious to something, though it is such a full experience.  The one thing that sticks in my mind is a large pile of stones having around it smaller stones, and then smaller stones, and then a group of women with piles of perfectly hammered stones of an even smaller size next to them--their task seemed so incredibly absurd I could've sworn reading it in a book.  But of course these stones were going to be used for repairs to the tea-houses that made it through the long hard winter.  The clanging of the hammers against the stones, and the singing of the women in their colorful aprons and headbands lasted all day.  After dinner, drank rakshi for the first time.

Douglas Thornton

Comments

  1. I love the way you describe being in Nepal, I can almost see these women doing the work hammering on these rocks. Such a different world, can't wait for the next excerpt to this trip.

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