Nothing is nothing for long

A dear friend recently asked me:

What is love? Is there such thing?

And why do we have to grow up? rusty and weary and slowly dying inside before the skin even wrinkles? 

Why do we have feelings? and empathy? and mercy? and compassion?

Why do we need all that? do we even need all that?

But what is love?

I did not know what to say for a long time, until some recent inspiration. And this is what I responded:

Love is nothing.
The best things in life are not the hardest to get to, they are the hardest to hold-onto. 
Fleeting, fickle, momentary, superfluous, fragile, effervescent. 
They appear, surprise us, enlighten us, delight us, disappear, re-appear, vanish.
 
Life is not a linear journey. We do not grow up with time, constantly, minute by minute, incrementally.
We grow up in bursts, sprints, leaps, bounds, quarks, anti-quarks, via transportation and displacement. 
We grow up with every scintillating, halting, experience of love, happiness, joy, empathy, understanding, appreciation, compassion, of humanity.
 
Love is everything.
The best things in life come from nothing, without them we are nothing. 
Naive. Thoughtless. Unloved. Inexperienced. Unfeeling. Robotic. Inhuman.
With them we have everything, we are grown up, high, on cloud 9, in heaven. 
 
Thanks in no small part to Julia for the inspiration, and Austin for the quantum confirmation.
 
 

A poem from Bua Geow

I’m sitting on the balcony of a restaurant in Chiang Khong, under a full moon, listening to Thai songs sang softly with acoustic guitar and harmonica. I look out across the ripling Mekhong river to Laos, and feel the cooling evening breeze. I feel at peace tonight, and truly appreciate this scene and setting.

It may have something to do with the monk and the drunk whose ride I paid for today when we were stranded. Maybe it has to do with the certainty that has been revealed regarding my future. Further still, I think it is due to my reading of Bua Grows diary, and thankfully, being reminded again to appreciate the little things in life.

A review will be published soon, but in the mean-time, here is a beautiful poem from the heart of a “bright-eyed innocent slip of a country girl… debased, enslaved”* and freed by her own courage.

————–

Oh! The joy that you feel

Is to me as a tune

As a toy to a child

As a song to the moon.

Whilst the grief that you meet

Is to me as a pain

I would fain bear for you,

though I die of that grief.

So then live to the full,

While your youth is yet pure:

In the year of your death

You may pray and forgive.

But not now is the time

To sleep in the spring

Or to bow to the Gods

Or to kneel – but to sing.

But to sing to the sky

And to shout O’er the sea

And to bring to the world

The thrill that we feel to will and to be.

Author: Bua Geow

——————

* In the word of John C Shaw, author and translator of “The diary of Bua Geow, Girl of Chiang Mai”

New beginnings and different endings

For as long as we have clouds, sunshine
We will have sunsets and sunrise
For as long as we have early morning risers and star gazers
We will have an appreciation of infinite possibilities.

For as long as we have the crimson, gold
and pink delicacy of a tropical sunset
The azure, green and gold where jungle, sun and sea meet
We will have an appreciation of chance creation

For as long as we have the misty blue haze of mountain silhouettes
and sparkling fire water
The piercing sparkle, razzle dazzle rays and invigorating warmth of an airborne sun
We will have an appreciation of new beginnings and different endings

For as long as we have an appreciation of sunsets and sunrises
We will have an appreciation of infinite possibilities

Enjoying the feel of things

I’m enjoying the feel of things at the moment. I’m not sure if its extra sensitiveness in my hands, or particular focus on the here and now. Maybe its the awareness of an impending departure. I’m not sure, I’m just enjoying the feel of things at the moment.

Enjoying the feel of things


The rough yet soft touch of freshly washed, low-thread count cotton sheets pulled tight every morning
The tiny, rapid percussion of air on my ear drums as the rain beats the roof
The goose-bump inducing caress of a fan propelled breeze over my belly

The contrast between the worn-out smoothness and the grain in the hewn boat boards on my bare feet
The unexpected splash of fine sea spray from the bow on my face and hands,
The heaviness of dew droplets clinging to my eyebrows and eyelashes, the sea trying to close my eyes

The soothing, swaying displacement of fluid in my ears and brain from the swing of the hammock
The inconsistent, gentle buffeting of the storm breeze, tugging at clothes as if demanding attention
The warm play of light through clouds and trees on insistent, relaxed, thankful, closed eyelids

The thick, creamyness of the air in my nostrils in the afternoon
The aroma of impending rain, the fresh bite of cleanliness shortly after and eventually the breathy sigh of the land as it accepts the water into its body

The smooth and deep feel of freshly washed, high-thread count cotton sheets pulled loose at night
The trusting heaviness of a head on my chest
The tickle of tussled hair in my nose

The Leavers Curse

The Air is thick with the smell of steam, rotten and pure, salty and fresh

It is stirred by the breath of the sea,  a whisper on the back of my knee
Lightning brightens the sky in clusters, rhythmic and pulsing
Heavenly fans and clouds of thunder play acoustic rythyms on the leaves
It is tranquil
The Mind is thick with thoughts of feelings, ripe and firm, toxins and chemicals
It is stirred by actions of late, a curse across my conscience
Neurons sparkle and die in torrents , fizzing and bubbling
Whisps of guilt and threads of doubt play their string harmonies on my Soul
It is confused
The Gizzard is thick with the intuition of navigation, impulsive and divine,  twisty and straight
It is stirred by the threat of indecision, a result of duplicate feelings
Pathways open and close in staccato succession, crackling, bidding and biding
Intrinsic knowledge and learned stereotypes play their synthesiser trash on my Mind
It is ready
The Soul is thick with words of paranoia, hesitant and bipolar, critical and constructive
It is stirred by thoughts of duplicate feelings, due to actions of late
Arguments jump from words, flapping, fitting and flying or dying
Memory and conscience hum to the harmonies of guilt and doubt, playing with Me
It is advertised.
The Water is thick with tidings of the storm, hot and cool, wet and frothy
It is stirred by the pull of the moon, a tormentor of hormones and lonely dogs
Monsters be hiding here and there, quilling, gilling and sometimes grilling
Waves from near and far play their percussion concerto on the sand
It is time
The Air, the Mind, the Gizzard, the Soul, the Water
It is tranquil, it is confused, it is ready, it is advertised, it is time
It is me. 

Just say Yes

Yes, yes, yesyesyes.
Its not that hard to improve the world
Just say ‘Yes’.
Don’t think too long
Or dilly dally your decision
When some-one asks,
Just say ‘Yes’.

Place some trust in your friends
When they ask,
Just say ‘Yes’.

Its not that hard to make a difference
Just say ‘Yes’
Don’t use sarcasm
or make a joke
When some-one asks,
Just say ‘Yes’.

Boost your colleagues self esteem,
When they ask,
Just say ‘Yes’.

Its really easy to get what you want
Just say ‘Yes’
Don’t be a doubter
Or a hater
When someone asks
Just say ‘Yes’

Mike life easier for yourself
When you ask
Just say ‘Yes’

Whirlpool

The environment here is just damn strange
There are different currents going many different ways
At times I’m stuck in a whirlpool of human emotions, mine and others.

At once
Fighting strongly in the rough chop of intellectual challenge
Enjoying my work
And then
Tiring and drowning under waves of cultural misunderstanding
Despairing the work

Once again
Buoyed and lifted by an unexpected gust of inspiration
Applauding the development world
And then
Depressed and sucked under by carelessness and arrogance
Despising the development world

Once more
Whipped into ecstasy and elation whirling around and around
Meeting new people
And then
Spat into a backwater, still, quiet, deep, cold and devoid of anything remotely human.
All alone