For ALL honourable adversaries
“It was a sight of such kind that when one had seen it, one could no longer wish to look at the rest of the earth” Atlas Shrugged
I have been in Bhutan for 19 months and today was one of many with both frustration and elation. Class seven presented their trash posters to varying degrees of success. I realize how daunting speaking publicly in English is for them. It was nice to arrive after at the bell to see the students hard at work preparing for their presentation. Principal La ambled by the room and peeked in briefly he looks something like Ricky Henderson if Ricky was squatter and Bhutanese. For class 9A we read Dawa under a tree in a circle on the lawn. I will really miss that class especially the students who I taught two years. One of my former students called me from Thimphu (Many BCF teachers give out their numbers) She had placed second in her class but missed the rural life and she asked me to say hello to all her friends. Afterschool I hiked up the mountain toward Shakshang Goempa and met a young woman who had quit school to help her sick mother herd cattle. She remarked her occupation was cow herder when I said I was a teacher. Like other dropouts she spoke English more adeptly than some of my class nine students and we had a ten minute confab. One PP girl in a dirty school kira was frozen on the trail staring at a plant and was too shy to say hello. I continued up through the verdant forest of oaks with ferns sprouting from their branches, plots of maize and cabbage, along a ridge with expansive views of both rivers. The trail was peppered with scarlet petals and of course some plastic wrappers and cows and horsed grazed as I gingerly stepped around them. Most prevalent out an incredible array of fragrant bushes of infinite variety, this is the land of medicinal herbs after all. At a knoll that I frequent was a new rainbow assortment of prayer flags, a cluster of vertical flags interconnected with horizontal rainbow ones. Reminded me of the chill domes I raced by on the fairgrounds. Well I have ample chill time now so I stopped for a coke and a smile. (I’d like to buy the world a coke!) The flags were stencilled with horses, Buddha’s, and other auspicious designs. It appears others share my connection to that special rocky outcropping looking yonder into Trashigang and beyond. Puffy dragon clouds swirled on the distant ridges near Kanglung as if trailing from a phantom cigar and the fresh air buzzed with crickets, birds, and unidentified flying objects. Over the phantasmagorical serenade one could still hear the beating of solemn raven wings whooshing and threading through the twilight en route to Darchin. The trail I followed winded through secret hollows, emerald glades, terraced fields, and shimmering woodlands inclining towards Shakshang but I stopped at a favorite Chorten enjoying the view of the Kulongchu bounding from Yangtse via Tibet. (The Tibet near Yangtse is not the high Plateau but rather 20,000 foot mountains) Sitting still I can only imagine what lies beyond the horizon but I’m certain there is no place like HOME! Descending the trail I saw the PP girl still ascending solo and had to laugh inside at how similar we are both lost in our own worlds of imagination. Reaching back at Tsenkharla I happened across some Class Seven students practicing dance for the upcoming Education Meet in Yangtse and then slid stealing into the mess for some smokin’ hot Emadatsi.