it seems

POSTCARD#295: New Delhi: Received this photo from a friend and at first glance it seems like a full moon in the sky. Then I can see it’s a street light seen from above and some distance away. Curious illusion, I was drawn to it for a moment; the memory of seasons of darkness revisited and inside each of us the light of the universe shines. Nostalgia for winters so long ago, the seasonal snowy days and nights don’t exist for me any more, the sun shines nearly every single day.

Something to be thankful for, some would say, to be away from the cold, but exhausting for me now, it seems, the permanent headache starts in the morning. I put up with it for as long as possible before going on the meds because they slow me down over the course of the day and by nightfall I’m like the Walking Dead. Then sleep and a few hours free of it in the early morning, before the cycle kicks in again. Otherwise comfortably at home here in our Japanese friends apartment. They went back to Japan for the holidays, taking with them their little dog named Noina – the name of a Thai fruit, Custard Apple in English (see below).

That’s what I notice particularly about this apartment lacking its usual inhabitants, the presence of a little dog who is not here.  I like the words, ‘it seems’ as if she’s here. There’s something cautionary about ‘it seems’, there’s the appearance of it but we know it’s not real – walking the tightrope of mindfulness. Anyway, I’m picking up on some of Noina’s doggie-world context here. She used to come to investigate me, very timid, looking from a safe distance with silent eyes. Listening and nose searching the air for olfactory smell-data – never barks unless someone is at the door and such a small sound comes out, only one isolated yap, voiced warning. The quietest dog I’ve ever known.

It’s the silence she’s left behind. I keep thinking she must be in one of these rooms somewhere listening, tuned into the doggie wavelength. But she’s doing all that in Tokyo now, 3630 miles away. It’s where she came from, and here’s the thing, Noina is not at all what she seems to be, there’s a remarkable story to tell.

Noina was rescued from a breeding kennel known as a “puppy mill” that raises dogs in cramped, crude, filthy conditions. She had had four litters of puppies, all sold for high prices in pet shops, and was so weak, no longer any good for breeding. Who knows what would have happened to her then. That’s not all, Noina had been attacked by a much larger dog in the cramped kennel space and the lower part of her front left leg bitten off.

Her new owner, Aya Chan, found her in the kennels as part of an investigation into cruelty to animals in these puppy mills, and decided to take her away. That was more than two years ago, and now Noina is very well looked after as this photo shows – the missing leg you can’t see, unless you know the story.

We’re here until Friday morning, then to the airport, a flight to Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. More than once, in my forgetfulness, I’ve started to look for the return flight info, but there isn’t a return flight, this is a one-way ticket. The letting-go, farewell India after a stay of six and a half years, older and wiser and sadness too; it feels a bit like leaving the family. All of it swept up in the embrace of the Christmas season, end of year clearance, closure and Jiab’s new job In Bangkok starting 2nd January 2018.

Note: this post had its beginning in an email discussion with Ellen Stockdale Wolfe and her post, the light within, on Moonside. Upper photo, one of a series, this time by Berti Buffy’s son in west Germany. Middle photo a portrait of noina in Tokyo after the flight. Lower picture shows the Custard Apple fruit, called “noina” in Thai. See the coloring inside the fruit is nearly the same as Noina’s fur, and the similarity between the seeds and Noina’s eyes.

20 thoughts on “it seems

  1. Plenty of big changes among all the others. I hope you manage to navigate them all successfully and that the new year and new life are a blossoming. Sad to hear the headaches are back. I was thinking/hoping they were gone for ever.

    • Thanks Ben yes, change is always there, sometimes very long intervals in between, other times like single screen shots in an old Charlie Chaplin movie, rollin’ and a tumblin’. Now in Chiang Mai and the clear mountain air. New year and new life are a blossoming, as you say. I’m going to see the headache doc around mid January and hopefully all the discomfort will be removed again for a few months

  2. Thank you for sharing Noina’s story is such a touching way. For both of you there’s a leaving, and touching into the space that is left. The light is always there though 💛

  3. No doubt India will pause tomorrow.
    Put a hand to her ear and listen.
    “Tiramit?” she’ll call out.
    Like a puppy rescued from a mill, you will be gone.
    And your next new life begins.

    Hopes for the peace of the Cosmos and this Christmas season.
    May they find you and keep you safe in your travels, in this life and the next.

    Seek peace,


    • Yes Paz, no longer here (or there), the place where I used to be is empty, not only that, they demolished the building! We stayed in a guest house and the last week with Noina. As we were leaving, I saw the bricks and rubble from the car window. So you could say it’s gone.

  4. What a wonderful story about the dog…..and I continue to be struck by your postherpetic pain…..perhaps we could email and discuss? since I have actually had some good success with clients having this debilitating issue, using plant based remedies topically…just a thought, and additional best wishes for your journey and New Year!

    • Hi boozilla, thanks for your comment. I had the initial Shingles rash around the right occipital nerve area two years ago and the PHN developed so there’s headache pain all the time. Fortunately the Gabapentin meds keep it at a manageable level although I’m sleepwalking most of the day. I didn’t try creams because of the difficulty in massaging the pain area among the hair.

      • The medium is a bit challenging in these cases but I did find using olive or avocado oil infused with various herbs was not too hard to apply and had effect. If the Gabapentin works that’s GREAT….but there might be some additional food for thought. Anyway, I love your blog!

      • The ideal thing would be topical CBD oil but that’s a non starter for you as i just researched. Alternatively, a mix of St. John’s Wort herb, and essential oils of ravensara and helichrysum has been helpful in my experience…seems unlikely but it really does work! i think you could probably get these things where you are, too…….

      • Thanks for your herb info, I started an English search on Google but nothing available in Thailand. I could try in a Thai language search but the internet is not reliable and I’d need to have a Thai friend to do that for me. Impossible to get herbal remedies online because they are stopped at the Thai customs and excise, as I discovered at my cost with importing homeopathic remedies. A bit of a sad story. I’ll make a note and can get them next time I’m in Europe. By the way I gave the wrong email address in the last mail. Sorry about that, it should be dhammafootsteps at geemail dot com

  5. So sorry about the continued pain. Hard to go through each day. Love your story about Noina. Thank God your friends rescued her. We had a little dog, cocoa colored, just like her. Ko-ko’s ashes are buried at our barn in Millbrook,NY. She will be all that remains of us upstate by Feb. 15. We found buyers and have taken care of most of their demands and a contract has been signed. Hard to say goodbye to the magnificent peace of raw nature but time to simplify our lives. ♡ellen

    • Thanks Ellen, it’s a constant dull headache with severe stabs that arrive mid morning. The meds are effective and I can get through the day okay although it’s sleepwalking. Nice to hear about Ko-ko, you must know the appeal they have. Good to hear the transaction is nearly completed, and here’s hoping it goes through without any further delay. I feel sure you’ll find ‘magnificent peace’ in the subjective sense…

  6. Pingback: somewhere in the city | dhamma footsteps

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