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Archive for the tag “nepaL”

Doing hard time déjà vu: Week 17: Blogging for survival.

I can’t predict the future. When it arrives, I know I’ve seen it before. Lately, this road trip, with long stretches without a petrol station, has got me looking at the empty gauge. Unable to tear my eyes away lest the little wavering dial finally drops below the red E. And I’m stranded, in this lifetime, like a Cyclops. With no vision of the future, except the moment of its ending.

Hindsight is awesome. I have used it to make myself feel superior on many occasions. Like when my friend invited me to join her on a holiday and I said I would rather drive a stake through my foot. In hindsight I decided that I would phrase that differently next time. Although I suspect she may have her own brand of hindsight on that. And then there was the wedding video, and my Mother in law and my voice carried and the video had sound and I didn’t realise. Yeppers. In hindsight. No more Mothers in law. And the Sambuca. A whole bottle. On an empty stomach. Hmm. Yeah. In hindsight. Lots of cheese sandwiches next time. Then there was the time share, the yellow hot pants and those liquid blue eyes….

So. Hindsight. Thanks a million. You didn’t save me from myself at the time, but you enabled me to reauthor the events so adeptly that I came out smelling like roses. In my mind at least. Except for the hot pants.

Prescience, precognition and déjà vu need another alphabet of analogies to begin to describe. How there is no chance to return and rewrite. How there is no second and third person narrative. How the experience pushes the override button on ego, logic, reason and natural inhibition. How it demands that you be so fully present in the moment of living something twice that you wonder how you survived it the first time. And just how much life is distraction.

Sometimes it’s the small things. The sentence you can finish for someone else. The person who is knocking at the door. The clothes you knew they would be wearing. Why someone is sad. The name they will call their baby. The lover they are yet to meet. The secret they haven’t told you. The wish they haven’t made. The hope they dare not give voice to. Moments. Insights. Slicing into the space between hearts.

I take these in my stride. An added bonus on the perception spectrum. Generally a handy enough talent.

Recently, however, the safety switch malfunctioned. After a trip to Nepal. Becoming one big prescient present. Memory, feeling and foreknowledge coagulating on each half spoken word. Dulling any sense of curiosity and deadening the lightness of being. For a lover of divination, and clairvoyant junkie, this is a bad trip..

The one who knows me well suggested I attempt a simple logic puzzle. You know. To try and activate the non functioning side of my brain. After two days I asked her to send me the solution. ‘No’, she said, ‘there is still plenty more for you to try in the book’.

And that’s the problem. I have the solutions. A lifetimes worth. No idea what to though. How do you work back from the end?

Heavy with my own importance I’m half watching the man on the beach with lanterns. It’s a blue-black sky. He approaches and holds a lantern aloft. ‘Do you want to make a wish?’ Pfftt. I’ve seen this before. Pay the money. Light a candle. Let the lantern go. Go back to self satisfaction. He looks again with smiling eyes. ‘Not you. Your daughter’. So I turn to her. Do you want to make a wish? And she is running onto the beach. The woman child I knew before she was born. The moon girl. And she holds the lantern as it warms. Then releases it to the night, craning her neck to watch it take her wish heavenward. She is tingling and talking singing.

And I take a long, deep gulp of that wishful night air. I’ve never seen this moment before. And I’ll never see it again.

Never trust an elephant: Week 13: Blogging for survival

I’m on my last elephant ride. The realisation that I will never do this again comes with the  certainty of the sunrise. Staying present in the moment. With a shame that comes from the imperialism of being human. Of killing, eating, enslaving and humiliating animals. She walks with care and deliberation. Each step takes me closer to my pathetic regret.

Elephants have a similar life expectancy to humans. And like humans they can live full and happy lives. Under the right conditions. Lakshmi Kahli is 35 years old. 9 am in Chitwan, Nepal and she is on her second run already. There has been a slight delay because we asked them not to overload her. Serious discussion ensues. Each of these elephants is expected to carry 5 people at a time.    

We are the last to ride. Hoards of animated, excited, overweight people jump, scratch and scramble their way on to the elephants. As each person boards, the elephant adjusts slightly to manage the load.

My first elephant ride was at the Melbourne Zoo. I was 5. In all the years that have followed I have also jumped, scratched and scrambled my way onto the backs of elephants around the world. Loving the view from up high, the gentle rhythm and the mystery of the elephant spirit. On top of an elephant is on top of the world.

I have been told about the vengeful nature of elephants. How they will remember a hurt done to them and wait for an opportunity to retaliate. In Laos, the guide at the elephant camp tells a story of a tourist who teased an elephant by offering bananas repeatedly and pulling them away just as the elephant was reaching for them. After a few minutes of this, the elephant whacked him to the ground. ‘So’, he says, ‘never trust an elephant’.

At 35 years old I was working 3 jobs. Harnessed. And at times I felt like a brute animal, with little value other than the weight of the load I could carry. I retaliated at acts of senseless cruelty. I also retaliated for much less.  There were times when people would say. ‘You can never trust a Lisa’.

These days I choose who, and what, I will carry. I do not carry entitlement, or cruelty, and I brushed rudeness and humiliation off on a low hanging branch some time ago. About the time I developed a deep fondness for bananas. And kindness. This is what it means to be free.

As Lakshmi Kahli stands steady for me to scramble my way off her back I think of all the elephants that have carried people, little and big, safely around the world and through time. Of their huge bulk kneeling to accept a small child and their gentle trunks touching the upturned palms of generations. And I smile.

You can never trust an elephant.

 

 

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