Thursday, December 3, 2009

memories of events is the past recalled

ahhh, eduardo, dave, lee and scott...

i still just get a thrill writing your names and knowing that we know each other so fondly 30 years on.

it's a gift.

for me, as you can imagine, there is another set of complex emotions as i was out in the backyard this afternoon trimming bamboo and strolling the garden below shivapuri w/ bans and nigalo (small bans) from different places in nepal and oregon.  nepal isn't just a beloved memory for me, it became my life.  whatever that black magic didi in larjung put in my b'fast never quite got out of my system.  the ephipany i felt in tuckhe turned into shakun, a wife, ten years later.  
the complex political journey that has been nepal since the cute authoritarianism of raja birendra through the murder of his whole family to our maoist colleagues filling the streets on thursday/friday has been my life.  ex-king gynendra's grand daughter is even in leah's class (and one of her close friends...).  
20 years with save the children and now another 3 with the un.  a home.  a garden.  three kids.  a modicum of nepali bhasa by which to flit and wing around the country in a language i would never have imagined being so comfortable speaking.  who'd uv thunk it?
yes, nepal for me is that last trudge up tharong-la in the freezing morning, followed by the long exhilirating walk down to mutkinath, the leisurely stroll along the kali gandaki, the forests of gandrung, the site of pokhara after six weeks round the annapurna, then, once again, the travelers and pies in kathmandu that lingering autumn, my first in the himalaya, the unworldy iconography, the friendships, the breaking of barriers, the going beyond beyond, the dreams, fearlessness and simple joyful experiences that were enhanced by such luck, innocence and openness.  
after all these years, these few decades, alas, nepal is more even than a home, a wife, my children raised here, the many friends and the nest that i've created (even sitting here tonight...).

yet, it all cycles back to that maha-circumambulation around the annapurna in the fall of 1979, thirty years ago this week, with all of you.  

it's time to crack open the leather-bound journals tomorrow and put the dvd i just had burned of all of my photos of those days in the window-sized iMac in front of me. 

reflection is the gift of the passage of time, it seems...
tomorrow i've planned to walk over shivapuri ridge w/ some friends.  it's a good 5 hour hike up 2,500' and back down to our garden.  you've sent my imagination off now, to sleep, perchance to dream of the younger us and the many joys and, just as sweet, memories of joys that we've created together.


Dratski! said...

I love that you live in Nepal... I’ve never been but went to Kodaikanal School in south india for 2 years in the mid 70s. And of course as a child I planned to be the first woman on top of Everest, but that fell through.
You have The Magic Mountain & Tintin listed among your fav books on your profile, as do I :)
I didn’t see Black Narcissus listed among your films. Do you like that one?

Keith D. Leslie said...

Yes, although it's been quite a long time since I've seen it. I don't know if I included "The Lost Horizon", the original Ronald Coleman flick. Romantic Himalayan films are always a joy. What were you doing at Kodikanal? A dear friend went there, too, but probably a bit earlier, Kai Bird.

Dratski! said...

I was there in 8th & 9th grades - my dad was a diplomat posted in sri lanka back before the civil war broke out - we were lucky.there were quite a few of us there from S.L. I am in touch with alot of old Kodai friends thru facebook. Have't seen Lost Horizon, but I'll check it out!
Cant believe I never made it to Nepal,,, watch out for the Maoists! (unless you are one)

Keith D. Leslie said...

not quite a maoist, but it's a tough call b/n the unrepentant right and the radical left. orwell must have a major hit of this in barcelona during the spanish civil war. he was high on the communists, until he got to see their manipulation and misuse of people but cudn't bear the brutal rightists. stuck in the mobile with the memphis blues again, as dylan sang. so, nepal's in a serious funk with no easy answers. too bad shangrila's stuck in films. time to take a new 'avatar', it seems...