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Nepalese Notebook: September 21st, 2014

September 21st, 2014
Bhimtang 3800m. by Larkya La Pass 5160m.
You close the metal door of your stone hut in blank wet darkness; a few hours later you wake in darkness again, but the door opens on a vast expanse of stars and the horned moon descending to the peaks of the mountains.  Space and the all-encompassing universe feel not so far away; the difference is realization.  The weather had calmed, no wind was blowing, and the silence of morning and breakfast began ringing in the dinner hall.  The keeper was there, no worse for the wear, and all were speaking of the fine day with eagerness and angst.


We left at dawn, and by the time we reached the moraine of Larkya Glacier, where there rested a beautiful jade-like pool of absolutely still water, the sun was shining brilliantly on the high summits.  The snow that had fallen the night before brought the good fortune this morning of showing us the tracks of a snow leopard which had followed our trail until just after the pass, leaving its …

A Poet's Journal: April 12th, 2013 Part 2

April 12th, 2013 Part 2

Let it not be inferred that reasoning or any frame of logic be useless; rather, reasoning and logic do not at all times pertain to significance; and if there were a way that something could exist, and constantly catch our eye, so that we were aware of its becoming, though no change to us appeared, we would not need proof to tell us what our eyes had already seen. But before we know it, the truly taxing method of our lives has been prepared: the day becomes divided up according to our or another's need, or the nourishment of mind and body, and then of slumber, and we have not seen anything but the far-fetched and constant repetition of daily life. It is such a strange phrase 'daily life' and so hard to define, yet I think it not too different for any one of us to answer its questions, so much so that our concern almost wholly lies not with its particulars, but with the stress of living up to that phrase alone.  Long ago we had our rituals and sacred…

A Poet's Journal: April 12th, 2013 Part 1

April 12th, 2013 Part 1


I can think of no problem these last few days that does not take all my concern and energy, yet it be no present worry; for it is the intimacy of present concern which is relaxing, though it be ever so troubling.  But I see not in this a resignation to fate, in which case I take for granted every outcome; rather, the amount of time the problem takes is a refuge for importance and the line of action taken, and this is what most consider a job well done. There are, however, choices which occupy a great part of my time, which to most seem no reason to doubt: I have spent half the morning deciding if and when I should take a shower and half the evening preparing a walk that never comes to focus--for it is simply in this kind of world, about these sort of things, that neither decision matters.  It is, of course, only through true moments of clarity that my personal appearance becomes enjoyable. We may weigh every option and cede to any fate, but we all search for, …

A Poet's Journal: March 4th, 2013

March 4th, 2013

Whether we are brave or vulnerable, the world is so.  For it is easy to believe that the earth upon which we stand is a playground for our hearts, but then we are no better than a harsh reply to an honest question posed long ago.  'What do you think?' the earth seems to say when we find a bit of solitude in nature.  And how often do we reply with a description of the trees, the birds, and the flowing creek, and then tell them how we feel; or yet do we run off into some activity in hopes that an answer will soon come upon us, because thinking, at times, seems counterproductive.  But it is here I find that this question comes not from the earth, but me, and my reply, the way the world tries to speak--for it is always in constant reply to us.  The problem, however, is to find out which question we have posed.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: March 1st, 2013

March 1st, 2013

The first responsibilities ever given us always hold in memory a special charm and seem as if to have happened while we were facing the sun.  It was then that we could know our own thoughts and persist with determination in our ignorance.  This is something age comes to take for granted, desiring to shade inexperience when it believes our first responsibility no longer, so that everything else becomes proper and congenial to its attitude.  And though it may be nonetheless true that our experience has grown past the naive importance of youth, there is something left behind and secondary to our maturity.  We have forgotten the primitive state of what it is to call things what they simply are, but in naming them so, only see what we have known and not what we have thought about them.  The first act of putting a halter on a horse, or buckling the saddle, or rubbing down its legs, holds something which is lost when the task becomes familiar.  We forget, when we finally see…

A Poet's Journal: February 28th, 2013

February 28th, 2013

I do not know if falcons are around all year and if they are, they certainly do not take to the sky as often, but when they do, it is on sunny days because they are a sign of mild weather.  It is the newborn flight of their young that indicates a change of season, whereon we should greet the sun urgently; and it is their hovering over high meadows that gives confidence to a long day out of doors.  I have always associated both the sun and the falcon together, and though we are affected the same way to rise up into the light when waking again to the vibrant rays and cool air of morning, we nevertheless, when they are in unison, seek them morally.
It is amazing how a fine day may make itself felt through the seasons, so that the crisp dawn of spring is something that warms the gentle hours of winter; or it is even true that the phenomenon itself of wind or rain resemble in appearance those of another time and give us to reminisce on the spirit thereof, that it seems…