Thursday, July 29, 2010

'Even the Wisest Can't Tell...' Update #2 from Ez of the Desert

Hey family!

Well, of all people to tell you that I had sent an email I probably would have guessed Leah last -- but I'm glad that your race up to the top of the hilltop in Dandeldhura was greeted by my email.

'Numina' is indeed an apt word to describe my relation to the desert, but it's an enjoyable numina. You, however, are not the only one who hasn't spent time in the desert -- I was thinking the other day that the desert is one of the few environments that 'Lord of the Rings' hardly references as well. Of course Tolkein's Euro-centric vision can be excused for not adding literary splendor to the catalog of novels that have commented on the desert.

Also, as nice a picture it is to imagine me sitting on a rock in my "open lanscape just indulging the sense of space and the curiosity of time out there in the High Sierra" it probably doesn't happen as often as I would like (I probably even imagine myself doing the same on the odd occasion) -- Deep Springs is not monastery, at least not in the typical sense of the word.

Maybe an educational monastery, but education (at least by the Western Canon of thought) is not particularly solemn, introspective, or withdrawn, but based on activity, discussion, and liveliness. A hive of activity would be more descriptive of it, although certainly at moments and in different aspects it is monastic. Certainly, I think there is a certain collective desire that it would be more monastic on the part of the student body, yet too often we are pulled away by our cultural inclinations -- the hegemony of the West.

Even so this isn't so much a criticism of the students, but more simply the reality of the situation. It probably would be more monastic if there were more time, but between trying to "eradicate the line between intellectuals and laborers," as well as simply 'doing', we end up looking more like a Marxist commune than a remote monastery tucked away in the folds of the desert.

Nonetheless, on my more permitting days I am able to find time to simply sit on a rock, or in my room, or at the upper reservoir, or the Time Shack (a record room in the basement of the main building), and can simply ruminate. But, as I said, those are the more permitting days and even then it seems the time to reflect is fleeting. However, I certainly have been able to 'sit on a rock' more time than I ever did at NMH (or probably any time before that, come to think of it). So although I hope to find more time I certainly cannot complain as to the current levels of ruminating.

As you noted, it was indeed my first night at Deep Springs -- but not exactly at the college and probably just about toeing the line between Deep Springs Valley and the neighboring Eureka Valley -- when the second year students took us up a nearby ridge where we laid down our sleeping mats and bags to have our first SB (student body) meeting. Then they announced they were leaving, and off they left. So the sixteen of us first year students, just introduced to each other, sat huddled around the fire, under the most amazing sky splattered with stars (or rather stars splattered with sky) and got to know each other.

Its a nice class, a good mix of kids, but I guess particularly notable for its amiability in comparison to DS classes historically (or so they say...). We woke up in the morning, cooked ourselves bacon, eggs, and a whole lot of bacon grease in between, then climbed the several hundred feet left to the top of Chocolate Mountain, before we continued onward with the three hour or so hike back to campus.

I was very sad to hear from you about Tiger, if Tara did indeed push Tiger over it seems a strange, sadistic power is at play -- even in nature. Odd, and frightening that an animal would be capable of such an action -- all the more considering we consider them not to have 'consciences'.

It is also slightly concerning to hear another untruth told to Leah over the disappearance over yet another childhood pet, but what am I to do? At some point or another Leah will have to face these realities and I think we maybe try to protect her too much. Then again, maybe she is too young to know these sadistic traits of the world; however I think it is worth noting the exposure Leah has received via her education in film.

There is certainly a lack of continuity between her 'reel' life education and 'real' life -- but maybe I'm over analyzing. Regardless, I look forward to meeting our newest addition to the family (whether it is Coco or otherwise) when I return to our Himalayan kingdom (whenever that is).

It sounds like both Leah and Josh are doing well, I think of you guys often and of course fondly. I miss you guys, but don't worry I'm not homesick.

It sounds, too, like Dad you are enjoying your Federalism Dialogues, and your newfound (or should I say 'refound') power. I have no doubt that you can handle Larry's absence, and I am sure that people will appreciate your presence. After all, if you don't mind reminding them, before you joined the UN conglomerate you probably had more leadership experience than most of them.

It's just a matter of whether they give you the position to exert those influences -- although, I do think its a good thing you've been relegated to bit-part leader for the past couple of years, altho who knows maybe it's time for a return? Or maybe not? Who knows, "even the wisest cannot tell" (as Galadriel says).

And hopefully Sushila (Gita's daughter) does get the stewardess job, even if is against all odds. After all, 'against all odds' is kind of how I ended up where I am now at Deep Springs so I have faith in the power of "against all odds".

Interestingly enough I had a dream the other day I ran into Gita, Tek, and Anita at a tea shop in Kathmandu -- an odd experience (in a dream no less), but it was nice to see them.

Now I just need an update from you Mumski, I appreciated your soulful reminders of your existence from across the Orient to my little oasis here in California, but give me some meat to work with. ;) I like hearing what you are you up to in addition to forwarded power points of your political and civil endeavors...

As for me...

That is for another email, hopefully within the next couple of days, time permitting (for "even the wisest cannot tell") and besides if you read between the lines of this email I'm sure you'll be able to tell I'm doing well. Vignettes and other things to come next email ;)

Love, Ezi

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