Submitted by Ben Ayers on Mon, 2008-12-01 11:12.
November 20, 2008
They’re de-icing the airplanes already. The fog that swaddles Kathmandu, tucked into the serpentine alleys, the early morning roadways all calico with bicycles, the odd bus, the vegetable sellers – all behind me now. For now.
The last weeks in Kathmandu, of course, some blur of last meetings, work unfinished, hurried goodbyes. My heart littered across the valley, strewn like fourth-of-July candy along the parade route, and parts of it now, still, leaking through the windows and fuselage of this airplane headed home.
It brings me to wonder where I belong. Makes me wonder if such a question even has an answer. Each trip back home, in recent years, has been harder than the previous one. My heart stretches across an increasingly great distance, and I wonder about my flexibility. When will things start to tear…
But, alas, the fault lines of my life are not good blog material. 80% of the time I’m the most fortunate person I know – the remaining 20% I’m the most confused person I know. And I suppose this holds true for all of us. On both sides of the Himalaya. And this may be one element of what brings us all together – life and her perpetual obscurity.
I keep thinking about the young boys in Gudel with their homemade slingshots. They close one eye as they pull the rubber band back, their faces taking on that strange canvas of concentration where we don’t know, nor care, how we look. They look like young men, all of their future wrinkles present in this moment of perfect attention. I keep thinking about how they can shoot birds on the wing, their missiles careening out over the terraces towards the river. And I keep thinking about me now, this airplane, sprayed down with anti-freeze and engines burning as we shudder towards Thanksgiving.