(written on June 5th, 2012)
I had to scroll back in my writings to jot down the date – it’s easy to lose track of the days here. It’s a warm, sunny lazy day. Yesterday during the very long program in upper hamlet I had to part ways with Mike before saying good-bye since my shuttle was leaving, so I don’t know if he has plans to come down today or not. I washed some mint before breakfast and then ate our standard morning fare of oatmeal and fruit. Back in my room I ran into Clara and she and I spoke for 30-40 minutes, it was quite nice. She has a most lovely accent and I find myself already picking up some other dialects in my own speech. It is a bit daunting, most people speak at least 2 languages here and many more speak 3 or 4. I see the inferiority complex clearly.
I’m sitting in the grass with Clara (see above picture) basking in the sun and listening to the sisters soft singing and strumming carrying on the breeze and an occasional frog calling out with a strange, saddened cry from near the lotus pond. There are plum trees and cherry trees surrounding the hamlet and people are lounging about and chatting away with, as Thay says, nothing to do and no where to go.
After lunch I was introduced to mulberries growing on a nearby tree. They look like raspberries and taste a little like blueberries and are just starting to ripen. Clara and I parted ways, she on a walk to town and me to my tent. I had found a note clipped onto my tent this morning, it was from Mike. We had briefly spoken about spending the night in the tent together on the night before lazy day but had made no real plans. It turned out that he had come down to do so and since I did not know he was out there and he did not bring his sleeping bag he headed back to upper hamlet on the long walk around 11:00 at night. I felt terrible for not thinking to look for him outside! The night before I had went to bed early. His note ended by saying: I am sorry I missed you but please don’t worry about my trek, you know how much I like an adventure. (I’ll always keep the note and consider it a love letter).
I’m wishing my body had fewer limitations (I have RSD, a nerve disease that I have chronic pain from, as well as a very recent diagnosis of endometriosis). I would love to bike into town or upper hamlet or walk around the hillsides. I wish I didn’t need to rest so much. But I also see that I am still able to do a lot too. Earlier Clara spoke to me about a worldly adventure she took by herself, traveling for 10 months visiting places like Cambodia, Borneo, Tibet, India, China and New Zealand. Hearing some of her tales sparked a light in me. I would love to do that, be a world traveler. And she went on her own, a gift to herself for finishing her 2nd degree she said – how inspiring! She took 25,000 pictures.
The owl friends are busy here, always calling back and forth to each other. The lotus pond is still. Mike did not venture down today so instead I spent time with Clara, browsed the bookstore for gifts and rested in my tent. I read, wrote and took some pictures. It’s nice to have a day off. And a little strange too. I feel myself grasping internally and externally for somewhere to go, something to do. I look up into the deep sky knowing that it is the same one that blankets Montana, and I feel the world grow a little smaller.