I spent the past week in Thailand at Ko Pha Ngan, an island in the Gulf of Thailand in the South China Sea, where I did a four-day fast at an alternative resort called The Sanctuary. I lived in a hut made of bamboo and palm leaves, went to sleep listening to the waves hit the beach, and watched the sun rise over the sea each morning.
Top three most stressful moments:
1. I fell out of my hammock and bruised my bum.
2. When I walked from my beach chair to the ocean to snorkel, the sand burned the bottoms of my bare feet.
3. While sipping juice from a coconut shell, a darn fly landed on my straw.
I've been thinking a lot about life: about the changes that come, the winds that blow our way and shift the directions of our lives in ways we never thought possible. I've been thinking about friendships, and how hard it is to keep them when thousands of miles and several seas span the distance between two, important points on this planet. Ted Kooser's poem After Years is a perfect expression of my most recent feelings.
Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer's retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.
- by Ted Kooser
Thanks for visiting my site and for sharing that Koosner poem -- reminds me that sharing our experiences about the trip to Vietnam makes it more real -- as if I just saw it all on my own, I would have doubted my own memories. Thanks.
Posted by: sara holbrook | Sunday, 17 April 2005 at 02:37 PM
LOL @ your stressful moments.
I'd like to think that friendships are not defined/limited by the frequency of contact. So far that seems to be holding true.
Posted by: Musings Something | Sunday, 17 April 2005 at 04:48 PM
Hi, Musings from Milan. While I agree that "friendships are not defined/limited by the frequency of contact", there's something to be said for being there for the grandparents who want you there in their golden years, the friend with tickets to a concert, the niece and nephew who'd like you to watch them grow up, the friend with cancer who needs you at her bedside, the boyfriend who'd like to surprise you with a pizza on a Friday night.
This doesn't happen when you're 10,000 miles away.
There's something to be said for "being there."
Posted by: shamash | Sunday, 17 April 2005 at 07:52 PM
Sounds like you had a wonderful Thingyan! Happy new year! Your blog is in my 'favorites' here at work and I check it every day! Your tropical musings keep me warm here in the frigid early spring! After over two years, I'm getting used to frequency of contact once again... and it's wonderful, though sometimes frustrating and confusing, to weave yourself back into the fabric of the daily life of loved ones.
Posted by: Legend of Y | Monday, 18 April 2005 at 02:14 PM
Hey fellow wanderer - I'm there with ya in mind if not in body. Not to worry, it'll all come out in the wash...
Posted by: Expat Nomad | Monday, 18 April 2005 at 03:44 PM
Don't really know what to say just happy you are back and writing thought-provoking words.
Posted by: Datta | Tuesday, 19 April 2005 at 09:15 AM