What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

Mary Oliver

Every few minutes — sitting on the hillside on my charpai cot — I find it hard to breath. Perhaps it’s the elevation (which no one seems to know, and why should they). Perhaps it’s the layered mountain out my window. Or the rolling clouds rapidly blanketing the hillside. Perhaps it’s this walnut tree, or the assembly (not rows) of maize. Perhaps it’s the silhouette of what looks like a Truffula tree.

Perhaps it’s the desire to know more about this world. This tree’s actual name. Or that flower’s. Or that bird singing. Or the one humming back. Or what is the song inside of me, that is surely there but hasn’t yet been heard.

Truthfully, I’m not sure I even know the words yet. Perhaps I should try humming. I’ve certainly tried searching. But what about listening?

Don’t the raindrops on the leaves and on the roof have something to say? Don’t the kids’ chatter and sprinkled laughter and the women’s feet shuffling up the stairs have something to say? Or the young man carrying my bag through the rocky and watery path? Or the smile and soft voice of the shoe cobbler?

What are the words under the words? / Or is it just a world with lots of rough edges / difficult to get through, and our pockets full of stones?

But the breathe says that it can’t just be rough edges and stones. So what is it that is grasping? And what is it trying to teach?

Is it not that “properly attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion?”

Chacha Uncle Says

Chacha Uncle says that 10 years ago, it snowed here 3–4 feet a year, water that quenched the ground and fed the crops and filled the springs. Now, it’s only 3–4 inches. And the crops are less full. And the springs have vanished. The fullness drowned out by arguments from the villagers about what trickling water now belongs to whom.

Chacha Uncle says that this is God’s disappointment from our greed. From how we’ve strayed from the path. I wonder for a minute if he knows how right he is. But the lines on his clay-like face say he knows a lot more than all of us.

This world of dew / is a world of dew / and yet, and yet — (Issa)

Chacha Uncle says that tigers used to come to their backyard as harmless day guests, occasionally enjoying a chicken or a goat, and always modeling their freshest coat and colors. That was 30–40 years ago. And then the forests started disappearing into Islamabad condos. And the minerals and metals evolved into bullets and guns. And Chacha regretfully said that he once killed a tiger, simply because he could.

Now, no one has seen a tiger for as long as I’ve been alive.

I tell you this / to break your heart, / by which I mean only / that it break open and never close again / to the rest of the world. (Mary Oliver)

Chacha Uncle says that he used to walk 3 days to bring food supplies from Bunar town back to his village. And Jamshaid used to walk 2 hours each day to reach his primary school. And then the miners came for the marble and made a road (or at least half of one). And despite the shortened journeys, Chacha eventually regretted this road, because the village no longer came together in order to amicably resolve their issues, but depended on the now-accessible police (and outside world) to force a solution.

Think of the world that you carry within you… be attentive towards what rises up inside of you, and place it above everything. (Rilke)

“it is common to take a dog for a walk, it is less common to take a dream for a walk” || @amalacademy + @understory cofounder | nature novel in progress

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