12th : i Spy

I spy with my little eye something beginning with …

Actually it doesn’t matter what letter you give me or I give myself, I can find you so many things of interest.  I spy on people, places, action, stillness.

What is happening? What are they doing?  What is the same? What is different?  All these things racing around inside me.  The colours, sounds, smells.  Pleasant or unpleasant? Alarming, shocking, vibrant, even offensive.  I feel them all.  I ‘am’ them all.

Until, that is, I become complacent.  

Too confident, too settled and then sadly even the most incredible, unusual or fantastic can become the mundane.

For me, the trick with travel is to find the mystery in the mundane! Revel in the real. When I take time to unpick the glories of the seemly simple, I inevitable find priceless gems within which the truths of my life and theirs create timeless dances of intense beauty and honesty.  As I travel I learn to see more clearly, to love the play of sunlight as it highlights different scenes and illuminates my mind.

Today I see the old rickshaws in their ramshackle graveyard. Broken bicycle bodies in a twisted heap of metal, slowly melding into mysterious half memories of life. Shadows of their former glitz and glory.  Tri-cycle steads, abandoned and alone.

Sun-faded folds of fabric, the edges of stitching that have become frey’d and unfastened in the face of the worn and useless stitches. Old totems, ribbons and bows, metal butterflies and plastic flowers.  All have long since lost their bloom, their colour, and the ‘branches’ to which they hopefully, helplessly cling have withered and died becoming kindling, fit only for the fire.

I watch a woman through the once colourful and now broken brocade of the rickshaw hood.  Her vibrance, her life. The colour, texture and cut of her dress in memoria to the former glories and silent sadness of the lost souls of the ‘shaws.

This febrile fabric and frame no longer canters the streets of Kathmandu, plastic bottle for hooting horn, no longer jostles for tourist trade and demands a ‘necessary’ tour, to be made immediately, scooping up wide-eyed Westerners and emptying their pockets.

It is fit only to stir memories of times gone by and prompt the imagination of a passing tourist, who camera in hand, is in love with these twisted bits of steel and the worlds they encompass.  The insight they now offer is so much more than the noisy talk of the rickshaw touts who hoot at her from their seated vantage points, demanding her attention, hawking hash or flogging their uncomplaining, metal companions at high speed past her as she walks the streets of the busy Nepali capital. 

They offer her their steely silent promise of a time to come when her bones will be still and her time will offer a lens through which another can spy on a world suddenly unmade and unknown by their own untethered, travelling times.