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A Poet's Journal: April 21st, 2015

  April 21st, 2015 Watching the sunrise leaves us with a greater impression of what a day actually is.  When it starts up from the horizon, it does not have its sights set on how high it will go, nor what it must do, but only in giving off light, in clarifying what appears in front of it.  Our day already begins as the phantom of something we want to be, or have to be; before our eyes have even focused on the sun, we already think about when we can close them again; and so for many of us it never really rises, or hardly ever sets.  Perhaps the only thing decent in the world is to watch the sunlight brighten and fade, and leave all of our other actions to disappear beyond the shadow of doubt. Douglas Thornton

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 house that was selling fresh-sliced cucumber covered in a salty chili paste.  Very refreshing and interesting taste and opened my naivety to the similarity in which cucumbers are here used in almost the same way we use sweet melons.
We often come to the realization after 19 days on a trail in a foreign land that we are all strange to each other, or rather normal in our strangeness.  There is not a point of departure, but a joining, and it is in this unity that we tend to focus on our differences rather than realize our common nature.  I often wonder if Thoreau with his Indian guide in the forests of Maine had ever felt this way, wanting to be accepted while trying to accept.
As we climbed up to Bahundanda, we could hear the villagers calling across the valley to another village on the slope, and those villagers calling back--the ancient tradition never ceases to renew itself.  Dirty tea-house, but nothing to complain of.

Douglas Thornton

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