Friday, June 12, 2015

50 Questions to Free Your Mind: #7








   I'm trying to do what I believe in; that should count for something, right?

   Sometimes it's hard to know what you really believe in, I think. Life is this series of choices and we have to let go of one thing to reach for another. There are limitations on time, resources, energy, capacity.

   Lately I've found myself sacrificing things I never thought I would in order to do other things I never thought I would care about. It makes me wonder if I'm taking the easy road or the right one - and how do you know? Nothing is ever easy. There are downsides, always. So how do you recognize when those downsides are a signal that you're taking the more difficult path, or when they signify that it's a path you were never meant to tread?

   What do I value? What are my priorities, and why? If I suddenly realize I'm doing something and I'm not sure why any longer, does that mean I'm mistaken or simply exhausted? How do I retrace my steps and start again - can I even?

   Moments leave and they never return. Nanoseconds are electrified with pressure. 

   Perhaps rather than agonize over each moment, creating an infinite swirl of dubiousness, we should think always, consider briefly, and accept whatever comes with a sense of agency. They are our choices after all and we can change them whenever we want, even if the do-over doesn't look quite like we imagined it would. Because I think maybe that's what it is to strive for what you believe in and not settle.

   Honestly though, I haven't a clue.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Shard




   Dirt grinds deeper into the trail as my tires spin forward. Pedal 1-2-3-breathein-1-2-3-breatheout. My legs are fluid and the path is wide. No one is outside on a cloudy Thursday afternoon. Humid spring air encases my skin and dulls the breeze. Smiles and reservations pass me by and then shift back, exploring amplitude. We cycle in a lazy line like an army of ants marching to harvest.

   The trail pauses and trees break to remind us the city still exists all around us. Cross walk, left turn, construction signals, right turn, left turn again. It's a jumble of business suits passing parking meters and stoplights that pose as safety.

   The road hardens, smooths, deceives.

   A pale white hand flashes and we move forward. The turns come quickly and I don't know them. Wrong lane, wrong position. A truck squeezes by so close it latches onto my breath as it speeds away.

   I want to carry on but there are callous cars coming around every corner now. Surrounded. I've lost the regiment and I retreat to the sidewalk.

   I struggle to find my pattern again, of air in and air out. I need the repetition, my focus.

   The air is so thick and I have to breathe more breathe faster.

   The image revolves over and over. Passenger's seat, left turn, sidewalk cyclist crumples on windshield. Teeth grind particles of gray glass. A million no's. Mangled car, strangled sounds Sirens and stretchers Faster Faster Faster. I feel the impact, hear the silence before the scream. I smell the agony and comb glass residue out of my hair, scratch it from my skin.

   I'm done
   I'm done I'm done I'm done
   I bounce on a heel.
   Clutch two fists tight.

   The enemy has fled this stretch of back alley. I still can't manage my breaths but I can squeeze my hands until I can't feel them.

   One leg over the top tube, push off.

   Pedal 1-2--breathein--breatheout-3-4-5-breathe in-6-breatheout-7--breathein-- I lose count. I squeeze I squeeze I squeeze the handlebars and push the pedals down down down.




Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thailand Vacation: Coolest Bangkok Markets


   On Day 2 of my trip to Thailand I traveled to 2 incredible markets just outside of Bangkok.


Market #1: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

   The Floating Market is a representation of what Bangkok used to be - "Venice of the East." As Thailand industrialized, all of the canals were filled up with dirt and covered with roads and skyscrapers.

Getting into our tiny boat

Cruising along to the sound of a very loud boat motor and the sight of beautiful, tropical trees and plants

The whole crew

Quick stop at the Coconut Sugar Farm on our way to the market

Making some coconut sugar
Those of us who aren't allergic to coconut tested it out.
Back on the boat, but hungry - no problem!
It's never a challenge to find someone selling food in Thailand. Never.

video
This is the view floating through the main area of the market. It's packed with boats and lined with shops, where you can purchase whatever you want without leaving your boat! And if you have a pro-Thai-translator with you (like my uncle) you can get the discounted "Thai price."

Shops
And more shops





Market #2: Maeklong Station Train Market

   This market is cool because it's kind of like a series of secret tunnels. There's one entrance to a huge tarped space that just goes and goes and goes. The Thailand heat is thick and heavy in there without a breeze and the odors of meat and fresh fruit and sweat all mingle together. It's quite a sight to see though, especially if you can witness the train run right through the center of the market!

 

There are several different types of pineapple sold in Thailand. This one was our favorite - a little sweet, a little salty.


This is the outer market - hold on, it gets more awesome


Okay, check this out. The left photo is still the outer market. Walk down the train tracks, under the tarps, and you're in the inner market (right photo). You can keep walking along the train tracks or turn into the bulk of the market on either side. The heat is sweltering. There's food everywhere, anything you can think of - produce, meat, fish, clothes, dried fruit, even bras and shoes. Cool part still to come!



Dried fruit for days and SO CHEAP
I wasn't kidding about the bras

This is the cool part. All of these people tear down and re-setup their shops every single time the train comes through the market! All in a day's work, right?



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