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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…

A Poet's Journal: July 11th, 2014

July 11th, 2014

There is a certain pleasure in being confounded; for it is not through the process of thinking that we come to our conclusion, nor is it a shot in the dark, but the clarification comes offhandedly.  
Aristotle had said that memory was founded upon relation and that something forgotten could only be remembered through a long series of opposites connecting, like cold to hot or wet to dry; and however far we felt ourselves from the 'right' answer, our erring was essential in bringing forth the reality sought.  We can see of course how burdened the mind becomes, and how easily indifferent it makes itself when squirming about as such, but nonetheless we must feel occupied and fool ourselves into doing something, with the belief that we control the appearing and the vanishing of every little thought.  
The fact is, the quieter the mind the more open it becomes and gives to our confusion a creative aspect that is not involved in our running around against every questi…

A Poet's Journal: June 30th, 2014

June 30th, 2014

A 4-day hike in the Basque Mountains

Lying low upon the ground, breathing in the night air, and awakening to a slight chill, though it is the middle of summer, is enough for the body to regain its vitality.  It would be easy here for the mind to leave its thoughts to the scattered mist, but even if we tell ourselves that an unfettered freedom lies before us upon the trail, there is always something of our nagging and mundane lives following.  The contrast is too simple for us not to notice, and instead of feeling enlivened by it, there is the realization that we have not yet broken free from it all, but neither have we decided what we want to break free from.
A constellation arose on the door of our tent at night, and following it, the first rays of sun spread through our damp affairs with the enduring scent of heat--all of it though matters not unless one can see the place and the meaning it gives to his onward movements.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: June 9th, 2014

June 9th, 2014

What seems beneficial to us and our lifestyle often degenerates into the morbid condition of an all too simple belief that what we have found is the sole means for our survival.  It is like the frog who one day jumped into the ditch of water, diving to its depths and basking upon the edges, but little saw the sun shrink its new-found paradise everyday.  Though perhaps it could notice the changes in its surroundings, for some unknown reason it refused to leave, until it found itself one beautiful morning stuck in the mud.  All of us find ourselves up to our chins before we realize we should make a move, and even then, perhaps, never do.  Today I happened to find this little frog shriveled and dried up in its ditch.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: June 2nd, 2014

June 2nd, 2014

A rock shelter--cold rain and fog had turned the landscape into something so pleasingly strange, that though I know most of these paths and slopes, it could not keep me from being lightheartedly curious in my way, and drove me towards trickling creeks and hidden gullies, forever devoid of the same luster in fine weather.  The season is not real today, and where I sit now, as the silence echoes off these carved walls and birds land at the foot of the cave, is a moment unpassing.  Here, somehow, lives the ancient truth that things change independent of time.
Douglas Thornton

A Poet's Journal: May 26th, 2014

May 26th, 2014


'The impoverishment of imagination' was a phrase I read the other day in regards to Milton and his poem, the overcoming of which would be no surprise to any of us could we calm the source of idle thought.  The plane of reality must spread out before us so openly, that if there is ever any bias, the distance shall not lose its vivacity, nor all the sustenance that was in the heart run out into the stagnant pools of anticipation.  But even this is merely the whisper of vanity; for whenever something inwardly is given a motive for production, the nature of what we saw deep inside us becomes the object by which we miss our mark.  Most of the time, by the end of our projects, we are deluded as to what they really are; and it is only now that I am coming to realize that any of my undertakings, though they may take months to accomplish, always come back to the initial idea I started with, no matter how many evolutions they have undergone.  Imagination becomes impoveris…