Archives for category: Waking

When my parents invited me and my family to join them on what they claimed would be their last trip home to Thailand, I knew they were telling me more than they said. They were not so much old as sick — and feeling vulnerable to time. Despite the stress of uncertainty and the sadness of imminent loss, that awareness of time, place, and all experiences was a gift. My senses were on high alert, paying attention to taste, sound, smell, and the many voices that I knew not to take for granted. 

The last trip home

would travel along

the edge of change.

The change comes,

as it always does:

a slow folding in,

then increasing urgency

as the end draws near.

But before that,

would be the last trip home:

the chance to touch gold,

taste salty water,

feel warm breath

on tea-colored skin,

sing the song of language,

touch the ground

of home again.

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My collection of childhood memories are connected to deep sensorial experiences — true for all of us, I suppose. A familiar taste or smell that, like a time machine, takes us back  to a long ago life. These memories live so much more vividly than the present-day list of things we need to do. Why? Maybe because our childhood selves were so present in those experiences. As a child I had little control over where I was or what I was doing. Nor did I have a context for the images, tastes, smells, and sounds I was experiencing. So these memories live as pure sensation and now, when I remember, I wake into them fully.

 

I opened my eyes on the other side of the world.

Was this a dream?  Or my life now that I had woken?

The day was bright, hot, busy with traffic and people.

A flash of light:  shiny scissors ripping fabric.

The cloth snapped free, blurred in air,

then quickly collapsed into neat folds.

 

Voices:  high, loud, singing a language, woven together by sound.

 

Warmth:  on my lap a small green package.

It was the ridged leaf of a banana tree,

folded into a tight square,

secured with a tiny toothpick.

I opened it up and smelled:

smoky chicken, steamy sticky rice.

I made balls of rice with a treasure of chicken inside,

and popped them in my mouth,

one by one, tasting and tasting.

 

I taste it now, my lap feels warm, the voices sing, the fabric snaps –

I wake into this life.