My wallpaper popped open at 5:06 this morning.
Not too long before that, I was floating peacefully; scanning for a more pervasive sense of acceptance.
For centuries, Buddhists have contemplated the sound of one hand clapping. I was seeking a similar release in the sound of a dozen or so roosters crowing.
By the way, after many decades of rumination on that ancient riddle, I recently speculated “the sound of one hand clapping” could be produced by any terrestrial form whose inner being has found its way out of the delusional fog of duality.
Yes, the illusion, that ten digits and two palms coming together create the sound, is tenaciously persistent; however, in Truth, All is One.
And that my friends has nothing to do with 48 Pages in 24 Hours, well, you know, except within the overall concept that It has Everything to do with Always.
I am ambivalent, a best, when it comes to getting on a bus. At their romantic best, they represent adventure, which has many enlivening facets. The other side of that coin is the physical torture inevitably sharing the seat.
It feels like torture to me!
I don’t like to pander to my masochism, but it is an old attribute that sporadically surfaces while traversing points on this planet’s crust.
Certain ebbing and flowing tides of pain can prompt wonderful memories of prior treks. (I first acknowledged and owned my masochistic tendency when I was standing right about on the spot the lead buffalo is plodding across. That’s Grebe Lake in the background. The trail-head to that area is just west of Canyon Village in Yellowstone National Park.)
Oh! Here’s a wonderful memory now!
That night I crawled into my tent, swam briefly in a pool of enkephalins and soon lapsed into the great wide-open nothingness. I had a dream that I was oblivious to, but yanked from because the sounds within it hit an alarm button – HEY!!!!! That heavy breathing is real!!! Bison exsulffication! More than one! I’m surrounded!!
Terror is not a pleasant bedfellow, especially in a small tent. My contemporary brain was trying to comfort the caveman reactions.
Don’t worry! Don’t worry! Buffalo are vegetarians.
Yeh, but what if they decide to sleep on this tent or just kick it a few times.
Love trumps fear.
Love … love … love. Love … love … love. Love … love … love.
I love you buffalo. You are a magnificent and noble creature.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
You are wonderful buffalo.
I apologize for snoring. I will stay awake the rest of the night, so your sleep will not be disturbed again.
They shuffled off.
The word snoring is such a weak word when it comes to describing the sounds I am capable of making – billowing bellicose snorts, cacophonies of inverted exsulffication, really loud primal guttural noises.
Anyway, that handicap along with my propensity to produce and release large quantities of methane can create quite a vigil when sitting on a bus. Such a watchful state generates internal tension, which instigates a wrestling match in my quasi dazed state.
Normally, it is much more appropriate to let go of a day and slide into that great wide-open ever welcoming nothingness.
Going with the natural flow would not be so polite in such a compact crowd of travelers; particularly, when I was the only farang. I do not like representing said ilk’s less desirable characteristics. (I’ve heard we smell bad.)
Also, the experience is initially heightened momentarily by the second seat lottery.
Who will be sharing that space?
How big? Perfume? Cologne? Gregarious? Taciturn? Possibly English speaking!
I got a guy just a little smaller than myself who seemed to prefer to pretend I didn’t exist. Generally, I respect anyone who can focus that much denial to his or her advantage.
I tried to emulate his choice.
I had the isle seat. I took possession of the right armrest immediately and my feet were unyielding to any encroachment. I stayed as much to the left as possible, but would regularly be jostled back his way by traffic in the isle.
Every several dozen kilometers I would gallantly stagger to the back of the bus, to break wind in the privacy of the toilet.
The back of the bus is not a friendly place. It serves as a warehouse for the treats and beverages that are disbursed to the V.I.P.’s. All that stuff is precariously piled on the right.
The facilities are to the left. Perhaps the term – water closet is better, although rarely would anyone make a closet so small. It was about half the size of an RV toilet; a third the size of a porta potti. There was barely enough room for a 5 gallon bucket on the floor. Why it was there, I have no idea. It did give me a reason to do a little yoga.
Of course, the first unavoidable sensory impact was the smell. It entered my awareness before I got to the door – a door with a trick latch that exaserbated the urgency of the first visit.
The next thing that grabbed me was the exhaust vent. It was as big as a dinner plate and I suspect somehow hooked up the big diesel below. My right thigh was yanked over and not easily extracted from the torrent of air.
Since I was in such a socially accommodating state of mind, the fact that the flush button was inoperative caused great concern. In my subdued state of panic, I shook my head in the hopes of stimulating an idea with which to resolve the predicament. Fortunately, someone had the forethought to cut a 1-liter plastic bottle in half and leave the bottom part in the sink.
That is the primary difference between V.I.P. and Second Class. The latter has no toilet.
Ultimately, I did lapse into unconsciousness. When I awoke, I had a jabbing pain in my right thigh where the exhaust duct had grabbed me.
How could that produced an injury!!? I wonder.
Then I realized that my companion was sleeping cross-legged and his knee was the culprit.
Oh yeah. Here’s a well articulated expression of imagery.
Rudyard Kipling wrote these well-known olfactory lines:
Smells are surer than sounds or sights
To make your heart-strings crack—
They start those awful voices o’nights
That whisper, “Old man, come back!”
In his opinion: “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”
You may be wondering why I included those shots from Yellowstone National Park. Well, I mentioned the spot were my masochistic epiphany took place, didn’t I?
It is not uncommon that when I am on a new adventure which has me awash in discomfort, I will divert my attention to trails past.
That Grebe Lake trail kicked my ass.
None-the-less, I was not dissuaded from venturing out the next day to Observation Peak. Even with only a light day pack, that trek was brutal and incredibly cold; although, I had a wonderful conversation with a guy headed down. (Right where I captured that flower shot.)
The next day I trudged onward to Wolf Lake, which was mostly mellow. The morning frost was a heck of a bonus for mid-June, so I thought you might enjoy those shots, too.
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