On Nepal...


Each week on either Wednesday night or Thursday morning I decide what to write about on this blog. An idea or several usually pop up in my head and I just pick one and go with it.

Last night as I lay in bed it became clear to me that I needed to write about Nepal. How??? How to write about an earthquake that I am witnessing from afar the same as so many others. A montage of photos and videos, heartbreaking stories and amazing miracles.

I can’t really write about the earthquake itself, it’s too big and I don’t have the words for it right now. It’s hard to even fathom. It hurts to think about. Who am I to write about something of this magnitude is the question that keeps coming up?

I don't feel I can write about the earthquake, but I can write about my own experiences there.

Of arriving the summer of 1997, 21 years old, never having flown east of the Mississippi, finally flying so far east I had to go west to get there.

About the sensory overwhelm and immense excitement. The beautiful people and ancient architecture. The villages and the jungle. The didis and bahinis, the dhais and bhais.

About the rain that I walked through to take Saranghi lessons from the man who pegged me as a tourist and tried to sell me an instrument the first week I arrived. “Only if you’ll teach me how to play”, I responded.

About the time I took a bus trip by myself to Chitwan for a wedding I had been invited to by strangers the week before. Riding on the roof of the bus peering over steep and seemingly endless drops as the bus snaked through the mountains.

About the wonderful family I lived with and the mother, Ambika, who taught me how to cook Nepali food with the exception of the rice which was always off limits.

About the wonderful friends that I made and various experiences I had.

About my first love. About the letter home saying I wanted to stay. About the cholera I contracted shortly after that changed that.

I can write about so many things…

I’ve decided to write about this.

Late last week as I was throwing a few rattles I made the one pictured here. It started to take on a different shape from all of the others and I couldn't help but think of stupas.

The stupas of the Southeast Asian history I studied when I couldn't get in to the pottery classes upon my return to CU Boulder. The stupas I read incessantly about. The stupas I finally got to visit in 1997.

I thought of Swayambunath and the many times I was able to circle around it as the clay spun beneath me in my hands. All a form of prayer.

When I first read about the earthquake last weekend I felt sick and I wondered about all of the people I grew to know and care for. I thought of all of the places as well. I might never know what happened to some of them. Earlier this week I took out my little stupa rattle and carved what appears as the noses on the Buddha faces of Swayambunath temple.

The symbol derived from devanagari script for the number one.

Feeling that we all are just that...