POSTCARD#61: Chiang Mai: Looking at all these posts written by my blogger friends about springtime in the Northern hemisphere and something stirs in me… that urge for seasonal change, I want to be there. No seasons in Thailand, every day is pretty much like the day before. Time disappears, days become weeks, weeks become months, months become years. The whole thing is one very, very long day – night interrupts the flow, hardly noticed, and goes unremembered like the blink of an eye.
New leaves bud, grow, turn brown, fall and get swept away all through the year. There’s no autumn, no winter, no snow, no hibernation, no spring returning. The same bright light day after day, everything is awake all the time, and there’s an exhaustion about it. Necessary to take a rest in the afternoons, find my place bookmarked in the dream… I remember the silence of no ceiling fans. Natural AC, always a chill in the air and the sky a curious indistinct grey, sometimes, neither one thing nor another. It suits the transitory way of things, anicca.
I am a hoarder of old notes and among these there are references to spring in Switzerland, enthusiastic words written by a younger ‘me’ about buds beginning to appear on that yellow shrub that’s always the first to have colour around lac de Genève. Birdsong and smells of growth or greenness, leafy fragrances, moss and pebbles and the presence of the lake, lying there on its side like some vast mysterious being.
Date: 26 March 2001. Spring has sprung and just yesterday morning around 6am I suddenly noticed there wasn’t any birdsong and how could that be, what happened and why so dark? But it was because it’s all one hour earlier than the clock says (daylight saving time) and birds don’t change their watches.’
And another note about going to teach an English class in zone industrielle, Date: 10 April 2001. Yesterday was a bright sunny day and about 11 am, in the garden outside the building, I noticed the cherry trees with buds and tiny bits of bright pink. At 12.30pm, class was over and when I came past the same cherry trees, the buds were totally open and blossoms everywhere. It’s like Spring suddenly happened in just over an hour…
In the same way, it can disappear in an hour and I’m mourning the loss of spring… then that changes too. Everything is impermanent, including the idea that everything is impermanent – steel embedded in concrete, seemingly permanent, demolished by a man with a jackhammer in a single afternoon. But we don’t want to believe it, reluctant to accept that the world is so fragile, touch it and it falls to pieces – almost as if it’s not there.
Seen from the apartment here on the third floor, level with the tree tops, these exotic yellow and black squirrels jump around as if they had wings. Tremendous long leaps and landing: crish-crash! Branches spring back, rise up with the weight like uncontrollable laughter, high in the tops of slender trees, boughs bending to take the mass of one small body chased by another. Always having to catch up, never getting there, I follow them dashing through the foliage, my eye leaps in the field of vision – where are they now? The “now” moment slips from my grasp, I focus on it and it escapes. A new moment arrives, or is it the same one continuing from before? World without end….
‘…linear time melts in the now, self-dissolving, fading into space; days and dates fade away; months, years and eons dissolve; the one and the many vanished, sacred and profane both clarified; the delusive ground of samsara and nirvana clarified in its innate spaciousness. Even “spaciousness”, as an intellectually contrived entity, dissolves. Whatever we have practiced, however we strive, is useless now, and intellectual gall exhausted, what a great marvel is the sky.’ [Longchenpa] source
Photo: View from 3rd floor window and the trees where the squirrels play, yellow blossom appearing now it’s the hot season