August 19, 2009
This small sketch was made after a warm-up of creative writing.
Exercise: Weave these three elements into a one page piece
1) what do you see, hear, smell – right now
2) what memories pop up
3) ask a question
My mouth tingles with Tom Ka soup that I had for lunch, it’s tangy smell still lingering in the air. Bach’s “Gamba Sonatas” fill the space with repetitive themes. A calmness settles over me. I lift my head and catch the distinctive shapes of the pale yellow orchid with its promising buds on the windowsill across the room.
Our Thailand visit of some years ago jumps into my memory. Lush palm trees and pink lotus blossoms in the waterways, a backdrop for the vivid blue, oval swimming pool where we spent the mornings lounging in luxury. Friendly kindness and spicy food comforting us. Life serene and free from responsibilities in the bubble of our hotel.
The first time we took the open-air makeshift taxi, spewing fumes and noise, to town we were gay and bubbling in our vacation high. When we passed through the heavily guarded gate, the scene changed. We had forgotten the crowded shacks and dirty children playing in the dusty road that led to the small center.
We became silent and wide-eyed. Some of the people starred at back at us. Most focused intently on their daily tasks ; hanging colored cloth over poles, lugging buckets of tiny shrimp and fish back from the near-by town, preparing meals on open fires.
Toward the end of our stay, we talked about avoiding Thailand because of the constant exposure to poverty so close to the tourist hotels. Did our stay make any difference in the life of the majority of Thai people? Or would they be even less fortunate if we stopped coming to Thailand because we can’t tolerate the shadow side of life in our face.
Can I tolerate my own shadow side? Do I hide from it in the brightness of comfort and routine?
Can I believe that the “shadow” ( the denied sides of my personality) when fully accepted becomes a source of dynamism and power? Will it give me the courage to go out the gate of comfort and face the wildness of the unknown?
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover is wonderful. What you discover is yourself.” Alan Alda