Thursday, April 24, 2014

Within and Without. (story idea).


“Yeah, I come from a simple place. From a place that smells of land and sweat and twice worn clothing. Smiles are fewer where I come from than they are here, but when they spread across a face, it’s a moment worth remembering. Not this half assed idea of a smile these people give you. With their eyes watching you, and at the same time watching their selves. As they move the muscles over the bones of their faces, pulling them up like the sail of a ship. Like it’s aiming to take them somewhere. Nah. I’m talking about a smile so pure, you felt like you just drank a big gulp of ice cold, fresh cut lemon lemonade after shoveling out a whole barn’s worth of manure. That kind of refreshing." He paused as he looked at something off in the distance. Something that wasn't there but inside the playbook of his mind.  When he continued, his voice was just a bit softer. "What I wouldn’t give for Margie’s smile, right now. Worth gold, it was. Worth pure gold.” 

“Why don’t you go back there, old man, if you miss it so much. Why did you ever leave,” the young man said to him. The young man hated it when the old man talked of this place he’d never been to. It pained him to think that there was a time, a better time, one that he could never get ahold of. One that he may never be able to duplicate in his own life. Regardless of the fact that he had more than double the amount of days, by any logic you could use, than the old man had left to live, he envied him greatly. But he wouldn’t show it, never. He would take that feeling to his grave if he had to. 

A dark cloud passed over the old man’s face as the young man had expected it would. “You know I can’t go back. I’ve told you and told you. Quit asking me.” 

And with that, the old man seemed to wither within. Seemed like a sea crab, the hermit kind, retreating into the outer layer of his shell. And then he was gone even as he sat there living. And there would be no reaching him for at least a day or two. That was just fine by the young man. He’d had more than enough of the old man’s vocal meanderings. He would be happy to just sit still in this world of silence for a while.

Friday, April 11, 2014

elephant reserve

Before I went to the Elephant Reserve in Bali in August of 2012, I wasn't sure how I would feel about it. Would I get there and it be a wonderful haven for elephants? Would it be awful?

When we went in, you didn't see any elephants immediately. Then, you got to this really pretty goldfish pond. Then you got to the place where you lined up for the elephants. I got scared. But, at this point, I wasn't backing out. Yukari and I got onto our elephant, and Lowell got onto his. These were the two people I spent the most time with in Bali as we all stayed the longest after the retreat was over.

I spent most of the ride clutching the side of the basket and nervously talking to the handler who kept kicking the side of the elephant's neck, by his ear. I wasn't sure how to feel. I was in awe of this magical and amazing creature. I have so much love for elephants. I felt guilty for being on him and for the driver who was kicking him so that we could ride him, around and around a circle. How frustrating for the elephant. I felt bad for the handler. I don't know why I felt bad for him. Maybe because I thought that I would not ever want to be desensitized to where I could kick or to be in a position where I felt that it was my only option..

The whole time I was there, I was trying to figure out if I was being too sensitive, or if my gut was correct. The point is, I know now that I would never go back. The elephants that weren't walking the circuit were chained up in the center of the property or doing a show for us at the end. I tried rationalizing…but at the end of the day, I don't like it and would not go back. I could be wrong, I suppose. But I don't feel like it's a haven at all. I feel like it's a glorified zoo just for elephants. It just feels wrong.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pablo Neruda.

So, I have never read Pablo Neruda's Sonnet XVII. And it is amazing. So I'm sharing. 

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. 

Pablo Neruda