Thursday, July 26, 2012

Inside the limoncillo tree

As we ride in the back of a pick-up truck, on our way to help clean up all the plastic trash that has washed inside the mangroves, I ponder the way in which an extended stay in another country, among another culture and another language, has the effect of distancing you—-me—-from myself. We stand out, we are a spectacle. I cannot control my image-—maybe you never can-—I see how it takes shape through the filter of other views on the world. When I open my mouth I accidentally say things that are strange, I make mistakes. That has a humbling effect, as is proper, and I am reminded to--to try to--let go.      

Usually impermanence seems like something you have to get used to, something we can’t help struggling against. It may be natural, but if you think about it too long you see it means that you are dying. One thing I have learned on this trip is that, for me, it is also the only way to feel alive. Impermanence is up close and personal here, moving between norms. Different norms, totally different. Even a few miles and the assumptions that guide people’s lives, the exigencies and the sensual pleasures, may change completely. If I can look at it right, the world is stuffed full of pleasure.

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