Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Pilgrim's Journey in the Land of Lo‏

As Dylan sings in the background, 'don't think twice, it's alright', and in one of rock's most enduring love songs, 'come in and i'll give you shelter from the storm'... Ahh, Big Bob... prophetical-poet-muse-mad soul of rock n roll... Now back in Kathmandu after a magnificent jaunt to the Land of Lo, Nepal's own Lost Horizon, on the Tibetan border, past the snow-drenched Himalaya -- where time must have a stop (as Aldous Huxley in a different context once mused...). There were thirteen of us journeying together. Americans, a Brit and a Canadian. The modern English language world traversing a foreign land.  

Strangers in a strange land...
We were all, after all, simple pilgrims on those barren mountainous trails for those two weeks together until the fierce Kali Gandaki winds in Jomdzong blew over 25 knots and scattered we frail human shadows around the world once again. During out time together, we each shared bits and insights into our lives and worlds, seeking a communion or connection with each other. We danced around our cores, keeping certain secrets to ourselves while spilling our guts at other moments all over our tents or the trail, seeking resolution, justification or a simple act of understanding. In this we were as one from the first day. Flying over the lush, populated middle hills of Nepal from Kathmandu to Pokhara through our final six hour truck ride from Lo Manthang to Kagbeni slicing through the canyons of the Himalaya. To our ineluctable dispersal from the roof of the world back to our individual realms and realities in the wider world.
Patrick's line about me being a man with the world as his home reminded me of my dearest friend Scott's wry comment years after we left the US to 'make the world a home...'. 'Yes', he said with an impish, ironic smile, 'a broken home...' It's simply such a rich, overwhelming, almost unapproachable effort to make this mercurial and evasive world a 'home'. At best we are outsiders for most of the world we travel through, permitting insights or glances into the deeper truths of other cultures or countries. Language, habit and customs still separate us, as I pointed out a few times along the trail. As noted at the end of Forster's empire-weary "The Passage to India' (maybe to dear Maureen at one moment...): 'there are some trails that only one man can pass through at a time.' Such are the psycho-morphic truths of our lives, as well. But along that journey ('the reach of crazy sorrow'... Dylan), we did share friendship and comradeship. For a footloose gaggle of understudies in search of their own truths, wealthy enough to meander in the high mountains with an exceptional team of cultural guides, but empty, as well, in our souls, we did well. Maybe it was the rich combination of New Age and old Nepal hands ('if not for you, I'd be sad and blue...' Dylan). These unusual identities made a fine balance of healing crystals and crystal balls on the future of Nepal. Acupuncture for sore limbs amid political dissection on the current state of Nepal. Mad, possessive shopping sprees masking a deeper awareness of the impermanence of all those objects of material desire. Dharma-dhatu and name-dropping. Buddhism and bogie nights in Lo Ghekar. 16th C. Sakya art history seminar and late nights in the Luigi-Samantha boudoir. Modern restoration and ancient kultures. The Pasha of Mustang and the Sherpa horsemen of Okaldhunga. The varities of religious and secular experience, Mr. James! 'May you stay forever young...' Dylan May we all stay forever young. It's a vast, diverse and remarkable world in which we live, full of saints, suspects and serpentines. May we learn to know the difference and accept all in their own circumstances and conditions, while we discover the depth of our own. Om Shanti Shalom!!

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