It is a Thursday past midnight and I lie newly awake

When in the ground beneath me I feel the earth quake

A brief passing wave, maybe a second or two

But a sudden reminder of what Nepal has been through

I can’t imagine what it felt like last spring when it happened

Lives interrupted and houses abruptly flattened

How can these people keep shining so bright,

In the face of such a cruel, unimaginable plight?




Neighbors arise in the darkness of night

Calling out to ensure that all are alright

I pray for the health of all sentient creatures

Knowing we’re all one, regardless of features

I fall back asleep, not sure how to feel

Had I been dreaming, or was that shake real?

In the morning I wake and look across my tent

Where I am greeted by Juan who confirms the event

He had heard dogs barking for quite some time

And started to ponder if it could be a sign

When from the west to east he felt the wave go

As he lay a few inches from the soil below

We go outside to check with Marty and Camille

They must have slept through it, not a thing did they feel

We hope to learn more the rest of the day

Until then we just wonder if all is OK




It’s still early yet so I get back in the tent

Pick up the pen to start my day with intent

Shoutout to Joanna for The Artist’s Way

And my new morning routine of writing three pages each day

Sometimes it’s memories, sometimes it’s schemes

Other times it’s quotes about getting out our dreams

There are days it’s difficult and painfully slow

But I’m learning how to show up and lose myself in the flow

I snack on peanut butter and a couple of biscuits

Thankful for Jordan’s visit and a most delicious gift




My pages complete, I’m feeling refreshed

Ready to embrace the new day at my most patient best

I get out the sleeping bag and prepare to get dressed

This new daily routine has me feeling so blessed

A year ago I traded in my business shirt

For calloused hands and pants covered in dirt

And I’ll never go back – I just wanna say that

I’m writing it here as a promise to myself

To work through the fear and embrace a new wealth




But back to the morning, its time for some tea

Prepared by the wife of our dear host Prem-Ji

The tea is simple and black, no frills around here

I hold it for warmth, waiting on the sun to appear

I chat with my “little friend” wondering what his thoughts be

We’ve named him that in Nepali, translation “saano saathi”




With our tea complete, to work we go

What the day will bring we never quite know

Today we weave walls out of local bamboo

Thankfully we have a most trusty guru

Prem is happy-go-lucky like Winnie the Pooh

While his father is wise and patient like faithful Baloo

He goes by Maite, pronounced like you’d hope it might be

To describe his great strength and incredible will

From building to livestock to farming on his hill

This is a man of formidable skill

     




To make bamboo walls, we must split it and clean it

This makes it all the more flexible and easier to weave it

Some a hundred feet long and all shades of green and tan

These fabulous trees seem to come from a faraway land

Or perhaps a Suess story like Green Eggs and Ham

Writing that last one makes me miss Amanda and Sam

But I know I’ll see them soon for a brunch at a.m.




When cleaning bamboo for hours on end

I get into a groove and the time seems to blend

Then my trance is broken by a strange new sound

I swear down below is a festival ground

When you’re on a quiet hillside where they farm for subsistence

And you hear Calvin Harris booming not far in the distance

What can you do but ponder the oddities of existence




I stop and ask Maite what’s going on over there

And he describes a big party for the cutting of hair

A teenage boy is getting a ceremonial trim

We can see for ourselves if we follow him

Maite’s usually reserved but he’s abrubtly lit up

He wants to show us his culture and we cannot pass it up

We drop our bamboos and set out on a walk

He only speaks a few words of English so in Nepali we talk

I can’t understand everything, the language barrier is tough

But after a few months here, I can usually gather enough

We try to get some info about the earthquake overnight

He says it was small but it seems to have given a fright

There have been three since I got here, two that I could feel

Relatively small but reminders that the danger is real

If I was born in the village and this was all that I knew

And the earth started shaking, what the hell would I do?

Would I think the Gods were angry or the world was ending?

How could I sleep with such danger impending?

Yet through it all, the people here are calm and so kind

Embracing their lives and reminding me to be grateful for mine

They laugh early and often across their glorious land

Which reminds me to return to the story at hand




We arrive to a cookout in a great big tent

It’s an enormous inclusive communal event

I recognize this guy from work and those little kids too

It’s all quite the to-do for a brand new hair-do

We’re offered a buffet of snacks once we take our seats

Peanuts and fried dough and so many treats

And then comes the rakshi, that’s the local rice wine

It’s not even noon but i’d feel rude to decline

I’m offered lightning quick refills of the potent stuff

No matter how quickly I drink, it seems never enough

Our hosts want to ensure I’m full and enjoying myself

So I oblige their kindness and drink to my health




Soon we’re discovered by Prem who says he had a hunch

He’s happy we’re here but we’re late for our lunch

Neither Prem nor his wife, nor us for that matter

Knew our impromptu plans so she’d made us a platter

This was an all day affair, things were just getting started

Which makes us feel better about having abruptly departed

We walk against traffic to his house for a meal

And try to explain our confusing ordeal

As we walk we’re attacked by kids screaming “Namaste!”

Which is much more impactful than a “hello” or a “hey”

It literally means “I bow to the God in you”

To say it you must accept that there’s a God in you

And there’s a God in he and a God in she

And this God in we is the God in me

ooooohwee

Can’t you see, can’t you see??!

It could all be so simple if we just let it be!

The greeting is delivered with hands to the heart

And each one I receive is a work of art

Especially when gifted from these three souls

Who we pass everyday on our ways to and fro





On the way back to Prem’s we are the talk of the town

We’re clearly confused and must turn around

People laugh and they point in the opposite way

As we promise to return by the end of the day

Truth be told I’m feeling the wine

And without a meal soon I’d be on the decline




The meal is dal bhat, that’s the local fare

Our hostess Ramila makes the best, the rest don’t compare

Lentil soup, mixed veggies, and a mountain of rice

Each day this same meal, we enjoy it twice

You eat with your hands, that’s just the way it’s done

Which also makes eating a whole lot more fun

We sit back with our food for a bit and we chill

No matter how much I eat, I’m offered heaping refills

The same meal twice a day, you think I’d get bored

But with each new bite I seem to love it more




When lunch is wrapped up we head back down the hill

We first convince the party hosts that we’ve had our rice fill

No matter if we’ve eaten just one meal or three,

Their goal is to ensure we’re as content as can be




Once we arrive we’re quickly bombarded with wine

And soon I’m holding court on the dance floor like Amit in his prime

It’s mostly local music with the occasional Bieber

One old man in the middle has clearly got rakshi fever

He’s dressed to impress with his best suit on

Inspiring me to slide next to him and get my groove on

I already stand out with the big bushy red beard

Now time to confirm for all that I’m definitely weird

I lean back in my Bernie and I look to the sky

When a most gorgeous sight greets me from up high

The sun peaks through some clouds and reveals its rays

The fact that I’m right here right now has me truly amazed

It’s a moment beyond time, a feeling so sublime

  




Last night there was an earthquake, today there’s a party

When describing this place it’s often hard to get started

The Nepalese people teach me so much every day

About taking care of each other and living life the right way

Some days will be sunny, some days will bring rain

But I’m learning to choose to dance with the pain




Later at Prem’s for dinner, it’s dal bhat again

The amount of food reminds me of an old football friend

It’s truly remarkable, an enormous plate

I’m starting to feel like Jared Sholly at Hill circa ’08

The afternoon’s spinach gets replaced with potatoes

Or maybe cauliflower or pickled radish with tomatoes

It’s a big hearty feast and it’s all so fresh

Good food from the earth, nothing less than the best




Across the room things start to get strange

As its time for our nightly check-in with Roman Reigns

For those who don’t know, as I didn’t before

That means pro wrestling is the entertainment du jour

The house has no heat and inconsistent power

But the satellite TV is on at every possible hour

It’s really quite odd the comforts we choose

And here men in tights deliver the international news

To me this sport is so silly and staged

But I’ve hardly ever seen Prem be so engaged

He’s like a kid again watching his heroes do battle

And soon I can’t help but watch the whole drama unravel

If it’s not WWE, it’s cartoons chosen by Saran and Nidesh

Prem’s two young boys who were first shy but now excitedly greet us




Our modern world truly baffles my mind

But I try to enjoy, kick back and unwind

It’s a family affair and each night is so rare

Once again, I just can’t help but feel glad to be here




It’s after dinner and the daylight is gone

We head back to the tent with our headlamps on

I brush my teeth in the open with the stars up above

Spending all day outside, this is the lifestyle I love

You’ve got to chase what feels right for you in your heart

And embrace how much you’ve grown since your humble start




The village gets silent as nighttime rolls in

I look at the time and somehow it’s only 7pm

Today feels like it’s gone on for hours on end

Time moves slowly here, it’s a refreshing feeling

And a break from urban life which leaves me reeling

Back in the City that Never Sleeps, I used to do just that

Staying up all night to paint or to chat

Here I rarely stay awake until nine

I’ll read for a bit but then slowly recline

Good manual labor has me needing the rest

Plus my sleeping bag has replaced a room with a desk




Before I’m asleep, my thoughts wander a bit

I ponder the future and what I want out of it

One last thing before I sign off today

…I never thought I’d have so much to say




Everyday It Could Be Wonderful – that’s sort of my motto

Much love to Chancellor from the South Side of Chicago

This doesn’t mean that all is perfectly great

That we don’t live in a world that’s not plagued by evil and hate

It simply means that you get to choose

How you go about your day and how you perceive the News




There’s earthquakes and riots and diseases and war

But we can transcend the negative and achieve something more

Suffering is a timeless human condition

So don’t think I’m just here aimlessly wishin

For that to suddenly change out of the blue

But your world can transform if you want it to

Everyday it Could Be, not Everyday it Is

Not just positivity but optimism with a twist

Believe in the world that you want to exist

And when the going gets tough please don’t you give in

The darkest moments are when you find strength within

You’ve got Angels all around you, I can promise you that

From your friends to your fam to ones you ain’t met yet




We all look different with our human masks

Thats the great cosmic trick that we’ve got to get past

We’re all one piece, made from the same stardust

If we want to find peace, trust in each other we must




It seems that I’ve gone off topic again

I’ve got a lot on my mind, I never know where to begin or to end

This world is so odd and yet so incredibly fascinating

Every moment is unique and supremely captivating

Especially here, in such a different place

I’m overwhelmed with thoughts and my mind it does race




At the end of the day I’m really just grateful

For the ups and the downs and all of the people

I try to breathe deep and be still for a while

I look all around me and can’t help but smile




namaste

with love

DL