POSTCARD #210: Delhi/Bangkok flight: I arrived at the place and couldn’t remember how exactly I came to be there except for the journey returning to me in flashes; scanned by X-ray machines, identified, processed, held in aircraft cabin pressure for 4 hours… then look out the window and see small green rice fields with water everywhere; 1800 miles southeast on the Asia map as the crow flies.
Placed on the ground and I have to get my things quickly, put together the parts of who I think I am in this new context of a day I missed the beginning of, and things out there are just happening anyway. Extraordinary, even so – catching up on the rebound, the momentum of the journey, the sense of something recharged, action endowed with purpose because I’ve arrived in what remains of a day that belongs to other people, those who have been here since early morning… Sorry I’m late, dropped out of the sky unnoticed – the Fall of Icarus in a painting by Pieter Bruegel.
Look at the camera please, click, passport page, thump, you have entered the Kingdom… exotic creatures made of gold. The world seen in flashes from an airport taxi in the fast lane, everything designed to get us there with the urgency of speed. It feels like the whole outside is entering the inside in large jigsaw pieces of landscape partly remembered, connected familiarity, but no time to think where, when, or who with. Glimpses of other people’s traffic congestion at the paytolls, shadowy drivers and their tinted glass and steel glint, chromium shine of new cars in pastel shades sliding slowly along in the golden light of their early-evening lives.
In here everything is locked down tight, attention captivated by the directionality of the journey I see through the front windscreen how we’re hurtling into a wormhole in space/time, plunging towards a vanishing point that never arrives. The outer world becomes neutral, non-intrusive random thought mechanisms that function at the edge of a dream pull me into the gentle whirr and flicker of thinking-about-things, and it seems like what’s happening here just could not be any more ordinary.
I find relief in that… can unwind in the Thai sense of normality, thammada, ธรรมดา, mind still buzzing as it is with the energy, the immediacy of the experience. Just fall into focus on the neutrality of no-thinking, looking for the space that’s between things. Deep in-breath and extended outbreath; the long and forever road extending deep into the horizon with great dome of sky above. Everything looks like a picture of what it is, a composition, a story told by a storyteller long since disappeared and I can’t remember how I came to be here, only parts of the journey now coming back to me in flashes, shining in my darkness at the edge of sleep in a different time zone.
“You are not in the universe, you are the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately, you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself.” [Eckhart Tolle]
Reblogged this on Sue Vincent – Daily Echo.
Thanks Sue, it somehow looks nicer over there… how do you do it?
One of your best, Tiramit! Your “shadowy drivers and their tinted glass and steel glint, chromium shine of new cars in pastel shades sliding slowly along in the golden light of their early-evening lives” is pure poetry! As is “Everything looks like a picture of what it is, a composition, a story told by a storyteller long since disappeared and I can’t remember how I came to be here, only parts of the journey now coming back to me in flashes, shining in my darkness at the edge of sleep in a different time zone”. Really loved this Tiramit. So there. So nowhere except as an image in the mind. This post really gets under the skin and shows great detachment.
Thanks Ellen, very encouraging comment. These are minimalist observations, only key words and the association between them. The action therefore needs to be very simple. The narrative here could be: ‘The plane landed and I went to the house in Bangkok.’ I’m so glad there are these effects I hadn’t noticed in the process of putting it together.
Reblogged this on MOONSIDE and commented:
From my friend, Tiramit, over at Dhamma Footsteps… pure poetry…
Hey, it looks good over there too – white lettering on a black background. Maybe it’s time I changed the WordPress theme. So good to feel others like what I’m doing…
Lovely poetic take on entering an eastern country, Thailand, and sensing the difference from what you’re accustomed to. Beautiful description. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂 — Suzanne
Thank you Suzanne for dropping by…
quite a welcome!
it’s so nice
when there’s no place
else to fly to
or wonder who
we are now
or who those other
Yes, these shadowy characters seen at the corners of one’s vision. Who are they? Turn around and they’re gone. Things are somehow not quite what they seem…
Landings are always interesting … Your description brings it to life T.
Thanks Val, they are always interesting, another time zone, one step removed…
I agree with Ellen, Tiramit! Your descriptions here were really tremendous. This line really spoke to me, “…the sense of something recharged, action endowed with purpose because I’ve arrived in what remains of a day that belongs to other people, those who have been here since early morning…” and it did so because it felt like it captured in microcosm something of this modern experience. Always catching up. The day belongs to those who were there from the beginning, and we’re hurtling about to get there when it begins… Hoping perhaps, we’ll be at the front of the line in some location or another where it’s all happening… Get our break, so to speak… But even deeper than that, life can have this feeling of being half-lived. We start in medias res, wander around for decades trying to figure out what happened. Nothing happened. This is just what it feels like… 🙂
Thanks Michael. This is how it is, expressed in a microcosm. Life can have this feeling of being half-lived, we’re in such a hurry to catch up with others rushing to get to the start-line in time – all imagined but deeply felt. Embossed in our minds is the DEAD-line, beyond which we will have lost our chance and the opportunity we would have had or might have had all swept away as crumbs are by the brooms of those who clean up after the final curtain falls…
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