Saturday, March 8, 2008

Dreaming of Finding Buried Licchavi Icons While Waiting for Joshua to Come Home

it's saturday morning, a bit hazy outsides while i'm upstairs w/ a view of shivapuri's forested shoulder and the bevy of ochre-colored nepali villages overhead on the ridge. we're obviously fortunate with our views of nature & the gifts of life.

we have joshua coming in on sunday morning. he left jfk tonight on a jet air flight to delhi then k'du. it's his spring break and he's dying to get away from the winter of western mass. and enjoy both the warmth of home and the environment here. spring is definitely in the air in kathmandu w/ peach & apricot blossoms on the branches.

joshua will be w/ us two weeks before going back to finish his first year. this year has been a major challenge for him, particularly being away from us and deep in the back woods of america. but he's done remarkably well, doing very well academically, finding new american & international friends, making both the jv soccer and basketball teams, being invited to give the founder's day benediction and being selected as a student leader for next year.

of course, as you can appreciate, we miss him profoundly on a daily basis within our family, but josh was really ready for a change and nmh has matured him in so many ways that sometimes only a new environment can achieve. what my friend, mickey, years ago used to call 'repotting'...

next week, we will learn whether or not ez has been accepted at nmh (he applied, as well...) and whether or not he wants to go. he's very much on the fence with sam & luke davis encouraging him to stay and become a heroic leader at lincoln while he feels a bit bored with a few of his classes this year and rather curious what's on the other side of the global pond. already he mopes, at times, that he hasn't accomplished anything in his brief 15 years of life as he has large ambitions for himself.

personally, i'm totally torn. i don't know how we can stay here w/o josh & ezi while i feel that the challenges & opportunities at a school like nmh can offer so much for these young men... josh has stretched himself in so many ways this year while ez, no doubt, can grow dramatically if in the right environment.

there's alot going on at lincoln school, as usual. our beloved lincoln seems to have gone into the woods recently. a mid-life crisis, possibly, for our 53 year old institution. there's a sense that the old lincoln is slipping away and no one is quite certain what new lincoln they desire. the strong tie to nepal that the school has always had is no longer as certain and even some of the long-term teachers feel the change & wonder about their own future commitment to the school.

it could be that nepal itself is changing, as we can all perceive. the love that we have all felt for our romantic vision of kathmandu and nepal is rapidly slipping away. the city has grown, the traffic, pollution, political crisis, entropy, poverty, density -- it's just not the bucolic and remarkable residue of the 19th C. that we all witnessed and loved when we first came here a few decades ago.

overall, it's been a tough couple of years for the school (aren't they all?) and w/ the tight budget, increasing expenses, limited number of full-paying students, dependency on the limited international community and extremely uncertain political enironment, it makes it hard to manage the school as we would all like. then, for some accidental reason, i got back on the board two months ago (liesl messerschimdt left to go to portland to have her baby), so i get to 'enjoy' these issues a second time around.

on a related note: my work with the national human rights commission ends at the end of march, so for the first time in 25 years i'll be w/o a regular job in nepal. that, too, will be interesting and, j'espere, peaceful and relaxing, at least for a few months. then, once we know what ez is doing and which way nepal is pointing, we can make some decisions about the fall.

of course, given the luxuriant growth of our one acre botanical garden that we've created around our home in budhanilkantha, on the outskirts of kathmanud, it's almost inconceivable to leave. but it's also almost inconceiveable to have our two adorable sons 10,000 miles away, as well. is this what they mean by living on the horns of a dliemma''?

at least ms. leah (in first grade) is trundling and tumbling around our feet, with her pal, gumbi, our apso/shitsu cream house dog, to always remind us of the joys & innocence of childhood. ms. leah prajna rose is a joyous earthly spirit who already knows that she wants to be an artist when she grows up.

now it's time to go muck around in the dark, moist soil in the back. i'm trying to dig out two rather large boulders out in a lower part of the backyard. it's fun to play amateur archeologist as well as landscape designer without leaving home. i'm sure one day a licchavi stone or clay 'murti' will miraculously appear as i'm removing soil around one of these boulders or, possibly, a whole 7th C. temple be uncovered that was buried by a powerful earthquake landslide off the 8,000' shivapuri ridge a thousand years ago.

the local villagers do say that this whole skirt of shivapuri was covered by a massive landslide in the ancient times (like noah's great flood, i presume...). given the reality of scattered ancient shrines and divinity's icons littering this valley, who knows? it's a powerful draw as i'm hoeing the soil and breaking the earth to allow these himalayan rocks some air time to enhance the beauty of the garden.

'back to work', as they say...

No comments: