Inward Trekking...

Still in Pokhara...easing into a rather solitary routine here. It's rather unlike me...but I've realized over the last few days that wandering out and making new friends is really not what interests me right now. Nor am I inclined to make the lengthy trip out to visit the few friends that stay in the next valley over. Though nearly every other foreigner in this sleepy little town is either preparing for or returning from treks...The Annapurna Circuit...Machhapuchhre...ABC...I'm in a bit of a world of my own. Having no suitable shoes (perhaps I'll explain that laughable reality later) venturing out into the Himalayas hasn't been on the top of my list. Instead, I find myself increasingly introspective...trekking inwardly over equally formidable terrain.

I've uploaded every last shot from India, relieving myself of what felt like a considerable weight. And, though I would've expected myself to then stow this laptop and wander out into the nearby hills, something else has sprung forth to keep the screen in front of me and the keyboard beneath my fingertips.

For most of my adult life, I have half-heartedly joked about writing a book. One of my closest friends has joined me in that jest, pestering me from time to time...'so...when can I read that book of yours?' Well ...dear Elizabeth, perhaps sooner than you might think, one day you may actually find yourself turning those long awaited pages.

Simply put...it occurred to me the other day, clear and unmistakable...'Time to start writing.' Something told me to just begin...without context or implied meaning. So I did...and I have been...and it has been amazing. The words have been spilling out of me, bleeding through fingers that type furiously...laden with typos... meandering through subjects and sentiments like water making its way through valleys, over rocks, flowing from some elevated source. It feels good...like some tremendous release of torrents that have been pressurizing behind some self-imposed dam for years.

The name of the file that houses these ramblings is 'Cultivating Loneliness'...a working title, of sorts. Here's an excerpt...a teaser, if you will...the first few paragraphs that emerged with such ferocity in those first moments of vibrant inspiration.... 


'...sometimes the burden of loneliness weighs so heavily upon you that the way out of it seems impossibly far...like traversing the slippery, algae covered walls of a deep, deep well...scraping at the sides and finding nothing to hold onto...no perceivable way of pulling yourself up and out.....

But then something unexpected happens....some tiny glimmer reaches your eye and you suddenly know to extend your hand in a certain direction...and BHAM!!...just like that...in a universe-altering instant, you realize that the distance between you and your liberation is no wider than the space between two palms as they meet in a spontaneous high-five.

There I was....peddling along the main road in Pokhara, feeling rather shell-shocked...disappointed that this familiar old, worn out loneliness had returned, once again, to drape itself wearily upon my shoulders ...lamenting my habitual return to this place, by my own doing. As a means of dispelling such counterproductive energy, I was just pointlessly cycling until it felt necessary to turn around and cycle back towards....that most inescapable of places...my own bruised heart and the strange humiliation of once again being misinterpreted...misunderstood...misread.

I'd circled round and was headed back, unenthusiastically aiming myself towards the centre of town. I was coasting along at a decent clip...feathers blowing...head cocked slightly to the left...when I took necessary notice of a bus ahead of me, overflowing with smiling school children.

I slightly corrected my aim to veer around the right side and was just rounding the back of the bus when a tiny hand shot out the last window of that side. Without a moment to even consider, my left hand raised itself to meet that tiny palm. As it did, the sound of our joyful clap combined with the jubilant giggles of the children, instantaneously lifting me out of that deeply agitated space.

I passed the bus, smiling wider than I have in weeks...suddenly, inextricably happy. Moments later, the bus passed me again, putting the gleeful, waving children right in front of my own broadening smile. As the bus accelerated, so did I...peddling faster and faster to keep up...causing the children to laugh and wave me on...'Come, Come! You can do it!' they gestured...their bright eyes egging me on like perfect little life coaches.

I matched their speed as the bus slowed, once again rounding the back right side. Out shot that same, expectant little paw....SLAP!! as my own hand happily lifted to meet it once again in the most perfectly executed, thunderous sounding high-five.

I rode on...sweaty and grinning...out of breath...unable and unwilling to stop smiling. It's still there...this deep stretching of my mouth's corners...like a jump-rope held firmly...swung expertly between playful hands.

And just like that...the frown in lonely's middle flipped itself upside down...or finally right side up...the well of 'lonely' filling up with 'lovely'...echoing with the innocent laughter of carefree children...'