Apologies for Neglecting the Blog ...

While I continue to ride my mountain bike and take pictures, posting them on Google Plus, Facebook and ThaiVisa, I have struggled with where I should take this blog.  If anything, there has been too much to write about and I have found it difficult to focus on any one thing long enough to get it on the page.  Endless distractions and my attention is diverted again and again toward something more interesting or more pressing.  Without a vision of where I want the blog to go from here I often resort to posting pictures, which is the easy way out, but perhaps better suited to Google Plus.

My wife has been doing exceptionally well with her university classes but that leaves me playing househusband on the weekends, cleaning the house, doing the dishes and feeding the dogs.  We have a new car, after nearly a year long wait, and sold the old truck with remarkable ease.  In contrast, unfortunately, our gardener’s husband died, suddenly and unexpectedly a few days ago, so we are still in the midst of the multi day funeral and all that entails.

After a week or two of hazy uninspiring days we have once again been blessed by beautiful skies, after the heavy morning fog burns off, that is.  The trails are no longer muddy or rutted, the bike is performing better than ever with the recent upgrades and I have gotten some amazing photographs while losing a few pounds along the way.  Presently I have plans to upgrade my bike frame, after new models come out at the end of the year, moving my recent upgrades to the new frame.  I am still uncertain how I will feel about riding the motorcycle this winter.  I seem to be getting much more from the mountain bike for the time being.

Two regular readers are now in Chiang Mai and another has recently retired to a town not far from Chiang Rai and even closer to our village.  Phone calls sometimes replace writing as a distraction these days.  The recent forum drama has subsided after a few members managed to get themselves banned from posting, and a brief spell where all comments were subject to moderation before being posted.

While the somewhat idillic life I write about stands in stark contrast to the often messy and troubled existence of many here in the Rai, the thing I find most disturbing, is the use of that contrast, not as a source of motivation and inspiration, but as a justification to openly ridicule and deride both me and my online persona.  It strikes me as odd that one would willingly take on the label of village idiot or serial underachiever, brandishing it as a badge of honor, while condemning those who have orchestrated a smoother less troubled path through life.  Taking pride in ones triumphs seems to have been replaced by boasting of one failures and shortcomings, in some circles.  I find this phenomenon strange indeed though I suppose it is instructive to be reminded of the darkness which envelopes the lives of some.

I am still making plans for my annual pilgrimage to visit my aging parents.  All aspects of this trip are much more up in the air than usual, which may lead to a trip somewhat different from past years.  Once again I will find myself traveling alone as my wife stays home to take care of the house and dogs, while continuing to attend classes.  I didn’t feel that I could put off the trip until her next school break.  The swirling torrent of thoughts and emotions that engulf all stages of my preparation, travel and return do not seem to abate with time or repetition.  Each year, each trip seems more torturous than the last and stands out as one of the very few unpleasant facets of my life.

I am of a generation dealing with the sometimes slow and painful decline of our parents.  The denial of death and wanton pursuit of longevity seems at times to have lead to greater suffering as people hang on longer and longer, lingering in some twilight-zone, devoid of the joys of living while resisting and denying the inevitability of death.  Through modern living we have so successfully removed ourselves from the natural rhythms of existence that we seem ill equipped to deal with our own mortality or the mortality of others.  Watching my parents is affecting my life view as is living here in this rural village in Thailand.  I feel lucky to have made the transition to a simpler yet richer life when I did.  I see life so differently than I did living in Bangkok for so many years.

I would like to say I will be writing more in the coming day, but I really don’t know.  Perhaps the long hours of travel, or what I encounter and feel while in Hawaii, will cause me to shutdown rather than motivate me to write.  I guess only time will tell.

Here are some recent shots to help end on a more positive note.