Thursday, February 19, 2009

Films, Stars and Thoughts on the Modern Life

once again, life is a compelling show in kathmandu. although practical communication or blogging by internet isn't helped by the 12-16 hours without electricity.

last night, for example, we didn't have 'bijuli' when we came home although, in my sleep i saw a flicker (or felt the electric blanket warm up...) b/n midnight and 4 am -- but it was off again in the morning when we got up. for much of the past week we've neither had it in the morning when we get up nor in the evening when we get home. such is the reality of the 'developing' world (or, in our case, it's a bit of a receding world, since we had better electricity some years ago...).

of course, it's actually lovely to stroll our midnight garden watching the darkened silouettes of the conifer trees (those magnificent himalayan deodars and bhutanese spruces...) under the bright full moonlight rising behind shivapuri ridge. i like to circumambulate our home when we come back in the evening when there's no man-made light to disrupt or violate the shadowy landscape. i meander imagining life a long, long time ago, observe the brilliant stars overhead, proud warrior orion and the ever-flowing big dipper shimmering in the blackened sky. i often sit for awhile on the bench on the hillock behind our house while kali, our big black 'puppy' races up to lick my hand. it's easy in such darkness to recall the currents and eddies of my own life, my children's lives, my parents, not to mention the unusual world i've etched out over these past decades.

'only connect', said forster; 'only reflect', jung would have said...

one's own life is a lot to take in... so, after awhile when the gazing, internally and externally, wanes, thoughts and memories floating along the river of time, i trundle down the slope, past the natural boulder garden, below the leaf-less jacaranda trees, the big city lights glowing a few miles below our home, and head inside to the beckoning warmth of our home, through the back kitchen screen door, under the grape and kiwi trellis, to where shakun and leah are busy doing homework upstairs.

and, to be honest, there are other days when it'd be nice to simply come home to watch a new movie in front of the morso stove after a hard day's night... after all, once we've seen the magic of cinema, the hellenic stars are homeric in scope and depth, but, ahhhh... was there ever a greater star than katherine hepburn?

for 'these days' (a great jackson browne song, no?), i feel like i'm juggling a series of lives. i still have a bit of work on joshua's college financial aid applications, although i've gotten most of them out the door these past couple of weeks. given the cost of these schools, without someone else's cash, it seems hard to fund a four year private college. of course, my beloved offspring (or whatever world he sprung from...) wants only the best, if he can get in (good luck, mate...), which pushes up the price tag, naturally.

as mom used to say, "if you have to ask the price; don't bother!" (thanks, mom...)

then, i'm trying to plan a trip to the states in march. i'm going to hang w/ my boyz over their spring break and see my folks w/ them in southern florida, then take the boyz to see my dear old amherst/thailand/greek friend, jeff lansdale, in honduras, where he's lived nearly as long as i have been in nepal. i'm trying to keep it to a three week turn-around w/ a flight back and forth over the gulf (eithad airlines).

of course, it'll be great to have this time w/ josh & ezi, as i feel the ache of their non-presence in our home and lives more often than i care to admit. sometimes i tell shakun that i can't remember them with us anymore. she thinks i'm losing my memory, but it's their loss i feel most. the simple joy of their faces, their smiles, their joys. they will, forever, be children in our lives...

tonight, i try to make more time for 'sophie's choice' by candle light. what a tragic story unfolds in my hands. i remember the movie, of course, but the novel is even more absorbing, agonized and literary. of course, the tragic, twisted tale pulls me in. i think i've become more attached to my own ancient identity over the years. maybe living as a stranger in a strange land, as well, sends me deeper into that family history of being strangers for so long elsewhere...

actually, after coming close to the dharma (buddhism) years ago, after years of bookish study and the perpetual romance of the 'other', like the elliptical path our lives sometimes tread, i rebounded back from a fuller commitment to another sacred world, even such a precious one -- but still another one full of the formal hierarchy and man-made structure that any religion creates. so, at the end of the day, i am what i is, with the enormous weight of that rich and agonized history sitting on my greying curls -- as it's weighed on many generations before me.

so, as such thoughts flow, the stars shimmer and, occasionally, the electricity returns, we will have the movies to entertain us and teach us to empathize with others, as well...

have you seen 'the reader'? yowza! i've fallen (of course...) for kate winslet, either in 'the reader' or 'revolutionary road'. i'm done, it seems, with those spry, impish, charismatic cinema women, like cate blanchett as a forest queen in "lord of the rings" or any of leah's disney or pixer damsels! now, nothing like a depressed, manic, suicidal woman to get a alienated modern man stimulated. at least on the silver screen these days, it seems that there are sophies all around... ;-)

one of aja's joys is that all of your latest films show up here in pirated copies ('only for the weinstein brothers viewing') that cost a mere 50 cents on the mean streets of kathmandu.

but, of course, the weinsteins don't provide either the popcorn or the promise of electricity...

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