This picture was taken two days before I left the country in February this year. It was a cool morning and I walked alone on this familiar road probably one last time for a long time to come. I had stayed for half a year in this neighborhood and it had become my routine to take a morning walk in the cool, fresh air. The photo was taken with a Samsung Galaxy, nothing fancy. Winter was mild and comfortable. I normally do not like heavy clothing unless I travel to the snow countries. I just returned from one before I took this shot. Somehow this ordinary grayish morning with the sun coming out against the silhouette of trees, (as I walked alone on a quiet and still road), gives me a perspective I like best. It is just another easy and breezy morning. People are still sleeping or getting ready to go somewhere. No one seems in a hurry. The noisy and busy world is some distance away. I am traveling home shortly and yet the frantic packing does not deter me from this leisurely unhurried walk. As I meet one or two early birds who are walking solo too, or working in their gardens, we smile briefly and say to each other, “Good morning!” Then each of us carry on walking or doing our morning chores, each to our respective destination. As I write this my heart is filled with thankfulness for another day alive and well in this world.
Good morning to you, my friend, who reads this today! I pray you are well!
Cherry On Top
You know this is a letter I will not send. It is an ordinary letter about how things are with me. The summer is ending and the last blooms outside my window have just withered. Soon it will be autumn and winter again. Today I looked into a drawer which I have not opened for a long time, perhaps years, and found this photo hidden in a memory card. Remember that morning in December 2007 we traveled? You suddenly wanted me to stop the coach. I asked the driver to stop. We got down and took this photo and others. I never sent this card to the studio for prints. Somehow I put it in the drawer locked together with many other precious and happy memories. Digital camera was popular then and I was using a Nikon Coolpix 7900 with 7.1 megapixels. The photos came out well for that journey. I found many portraits of you too. Long hair blowing in the gentle breeze of winter. Radiant smiles. I can even smell the fresh, cold and crisp mountain air when looking at the photos. Pity we didn’t go to any winter sports destination after all. The best photos are those of mountains like this one. I am not sending this because you have taken your own photos too. Perhaps after all these years you would not want me to send you the photos in this long forgotten memory card. Yesterday someone came back from the faraway land and told me that you have not changed much. But you no longer keep long hair. The mountains, they said, are still beautiful.
Hitching a ride up
windy snowy mountain camp
needing fellowship ~~~~~~~He knows he cannot be alone for long. That is why he joins his friends sometimes as they drive up the mountain. They do not really understand what he tries to express in his words, photos, or even the actions of continuing to climb mountains. They retain their own perspective. He his. Does this mean he gets more lonely? He asks himself. The team efforts in camping and the warm fellowship, do they not mean something to his feeling? Yes at night after a hard day’s work he enjoys a beer or two sitting near the camp fire with pals with similar mountaineering interest, all sharing the goal of climbing up to the highest peak and nothing more. But he cannot expect more, like understanding why he is leaving their company soon and launching into the deepest and furthest wilderness alone. They do not mind the goodbye as they too travel often and a lot. But they cannot share his goal of a travel without a firm destination and away from any civilized help. “How can we ever reach you in time to help you?” They query him, and he just shakes his head. He has no answer. In a place with no modern electricity power it is impossible to connect. He will know how to reach his friends when he gets there, perhaps. But he does not want to give them false hope. It is indeed lonely when he ponders this thought of isolation over unknown uncharted waters. Will his love fail him if ever he gets stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere? He asks in silence. His heart’s reply, “NO.”
locked in time and space stories
this shore and that shore
~~~~(Concerning your recent thoughts of our past.) I HAVE BEEN THINKING LATELY TOO. Our past. Because there are too many memories. After all we have accumulated 23 years (8395 days, 201480 hours, 12,088,800 minutes, 725,328,000,000 seconds) of being together. I think of the time that had passed. I think of our marriage life together. I would consider our life a good life. We were very close, like the best of friends and much much closer. When I think of the sands running out in the hour-glass of time, I wonder why I never managed to grab them and refuse to let go. I admit I am a mortal. There are things I cannot change. When I was very young, in school, I read a novel titled, “The Foolish Immortals”. I was drawn to the title. Only fools try to become immortal. I know there are impossibilities in human lives. We cannot change certain natural pre-arrangements. We trust science but we know whatever changes we perform down here are not changed in the spiritual realm. There is a fixed registry there for each mortal. Even marriage. Even love between two individuals. The span, the length, the breadth, the depth, the height. 725.3million seconds is not a short time. But it is too short for me. Far too short. I cannot retract each second much as I want to. Instead of going back to the future I would want to have a vehicle that will bring me back to the past, yes, way past, to before I was even born. I want to ask the Creator to give me a different registry. I would beg for a change in my life history. I would not let go until He says yes. If only I have that miraculous vehicle to go back. I would live differently, still with you, my love, but much much differently. I would not need to let go. Never. Like Pablo Neruda’s poem, “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”
Excerpts from a poem by Pablo Neruda: Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
…She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes
…Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her….
My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
…Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
only when love leaves
silently sunset arrives
heart is filled with tears
~~~~~~~~~the word today starts with “R”. Regret. Remorse. Repent. Repressed. Reversed. In matters of human relationship sometimes the harm done is irrevocable. You just cannot reverse the car and pretend that nothing had happened if you have already run over something. On the other hand, the word today can start afresh in more positive expressions: Refreshed, Restored, Reconciled, Rejoice, Regenerated, Rejuvenated, Re-engineered, Revalued (upward), Renovated and many more. There are neutral words too. Revealed. What is revealed is good or bad depends on the content revealed. But it also depends on the interpretor. Like this picture I took with a shaky hand from a vehicle behind a glass barrier. It turned out poorly. But the actual content (the sunset view on a flat land with still water and weeds) is quite nice to behold. I missed the opportunity of capturing the moment of beauty and grace. But did I really miss it? No, there is a sharp and accurate picture stored in my memory (far more superior than a chip). In relationship too, we may think of the past with some regrets. But when we really recall, we can find more moments of joy and love truly shared and treasured. It is the positive contents of a relationship that matter. Yet, on some lonesome moments when we look at old photos, we still would wish we could have loved the others better. Resolution? Take all the positive Rs and start working on relationships that matter to me.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8a)
side by side weathering storm
matter not where from
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Often when one is really alone, one starts to value friendship. Unlike trees, human have mobility and may walk and stray quite far from one another. Even when we travel on a guided tour each individual still tends to move away and tries to look around and take photo of something that interests only he or she alone. But trees are different. They are planted. They may come from the same nursery. Often they are not. But once they are planted they stay at the same spot until something happens to change their positions. These two are quite identical and remind me of some twin pictures I have collected. Identical twins have displayed auto-synchronized likes and dislikes, behavior and thought pattern. I wonder if trees too have their own pre-programed unseen ways of auto-synchronization. On the other hand it does not matter. Once they are planted they stay loyal to that plot of ground and remain friendly and thriving peacefully with their neighbors, sharing common resources. Actually trees look nicer in two than one standing alone.
a day we gather
this shore and beyond we dream
daring to venture
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~All three of us together. It is rare. Because we depend on our human friends to bring us here for the fresh air and smell of the marks left behind by other living things, mainly dogs like us. Sometimes an occasional bird may venture here, but it is rather rare. We don’t talk among ourselves. As you will see, we each seem preoccupied with the sand or living creatures hidden inside. Who are they? What are they doing here? We love mysteries. We seek things out. We find them. O yes we like each other’s company too. I mean dogs. What a fine day this is! A day to dream and celebrate just being here. Free and unhurried. Away from the crowd (human) for some moments of our own.