Lately ...

The day begins ever so slowly.  The cold air, the misty fog and the pungent wispy smoke of the early morning, all impede the coming of the dawn.  Long after first light the sun is held at bay by the mountains and only shyly peeks through the leaves of the trees at first.  Measuring and grinding my coffee beans, I get my first glimpse of my lazy friend through the kitchen window.  This time of year, the rising is dead center in the middle of my view of the world.  With the mercury hitting multi year lows, the warmth of the sun is not only welcome but sought-after.  For a while the warming beams of light even reach across the room to the dining table.

I have tried to hit the trail without my morning fix of caffeine, but to no avail.  Besides, the temperature eliminates any incentive to beat the sun to the dam in the morning.  My wife doesn’t make it every time but is slowly becoming my morning companion on the trail, with the dogs.  Regardless of how hard we try, still we do not make it out every morning.  Our distance from town enforces the need for an early start, when there are errands to be run or social obligations in the village.  I am at three weeks and counting so hopefully this habit will stick if I don’t get injured.

One attempts to overcome excuses, but as far as excuses go, this morning was a good one.  Someone poisoned one of our dogs.  He wreathed in pain, retching and twitching as we stood by, uncertain how to help.  My wife remembered the local cure of raw eggs pored down the throat to induce vomiting.  For good measure some chilly and salt were thrown on the fire as a curse for those responsible.  Apparently it worked because when we returned home this evening the word was that Momo had survived, but we are not sure he will ever recover completely.  Definitely not what we were expecting.

Writing what I feel more than what I do, I need time between activities to assimilate the experience and for the words to mirror what I feel.  Not being moved to words, the task of writing becomes a chore not a pleasure.  Not that there is too little to write about.  Quite the contrary.  There is an almost endless list of village events, rivers, waterfalls, and mountain tops. 

Long hours have been spent on the motorcycle, caressing the seductive, undulating curves of the high mountain roads.  Knees in the breeze, as they say.  One after another falling fast on the heels of the previous adventure, one hardly has time to savor the experience let alone sit here and write about it.  Even selecting and processing the best of hundreds of photos is a time consuming task. 

When writing I would rather paint a picture, invoke an image, a question, or a thought.  Sadly I am ill equipped to be a chronicler of events.  I do what I do, in the peculiar way that I do it.  I want to give you more words and images to read and assimilate, and perhaps later in the year the words will flow more freely.  For now, here in no particular order, are a few more pictures of where I have been lately.  (Phu Chi Fa, Pha Dai, Huay Mae Sai and Phu Sang Waterfalls.)