French Journal Day 49 (Travel Diary Day 129)
(travel blog – strange-lands.com/daily/2012/11/20/les-jardins-de-marquey…)
I’ve been wondering about how wise I am on a 10-point scale. I reckon I’m about 5.
I always thought that living for so long in the East, I’d be full of wise-ness. I wrote an article about it about 9 months ago. I don’t feel any wiser since then. Here it is:
Previous article –
Those deep wrinkles around the eyes, the type that glow with warmth when he smiles, are a hangover from wincing in the harsh sun across countless countries.
He sits. He’s learned to appreciate sitting.
The madness of the city around him fails to raise even his heartbeat. He’s seen all of this before. He’s seen a lot. He soaks it in, slowly. There isn’t much he doesn’t draw pleasure from. Time and self-reflection taught him that.
Time and travelling, his friends and teachers, have carved his mind into a shape unique to him, but boundlessly beneficial to anyone he meets.
This fella is me in the future – pretty wise, I’d say. I’ll probably sit on mountain tops alone (I don’t know where Rachel is), thinking about deep things like how bad fascism is, and probably world peace…Yeah, definitely world peace.
The sun will be setting and if anyone had a camera they’d capture my wisdom on the mountain top. In fact, that’s where Rachel will be. She’ll be perfectly positioned to get the beautiful setting with the even more beautiful lone traveller. I’ll have to teach her to use the camera properly, of course. She needs to capture the wisdom in my eyes.
I’ve been using moisturiser recently because my skin gets dry but I’m worried that I won’t have wise wrinkly eyes if I keep using it. Maybe I’ll moisturise my face but leave the eye regions.
Time and travelling, that’s all it takes. After that I’ll be throwing out advice like it’s nobody’s business – they’ll be loving it. ‘Don’t do this,’ ‘do that,’ ‘live like this.’ There’ll be loads of advice like that. Then wallop, life changed. You’re welcome. Sometimes I’ll probably just tell them some stories and let them work out the wisdom.
Just being in the East I feel like I’m getting wiser already. Everyone knows that’s where wise old people are. Mr Miagee from Karate Kid was from there. I’ll be similar to him, I’d imagine, just taller and with a better grasp of English.
There are certain things I must do to speed up the wisdom-process. I can do a yoga course on the beach in Thailand. I should wear those loose ¾ length pants that everyone seems to wear. Obviously I have to grow my hair. A beard seems obvious but I haven’t had much luck with that in the past – my Korean students said I looked homeless. Anklets wouldn’t look good on me but I’ll do what I have to.
One time I was on a boat going between islands in Thailand. This was when I was at wisdom level 3 on a 10 point scale. Walking up some stairs up to the busy deck where all of the backpacks were stored, I saw a Western man – a wise man, no doubt about that – sitting in the lotus position on top of everyone’s bags. He was meditating with his top off, covered in tattoos. He was wearing ¾ pants and an anklet.
While all were socialising around him, he was like my bladder today – calm. He slowly raised his hand to his mouth and took a puff of his cigarette. Buddhists love smoking, ask the Dalai Lama. Then with the other hand he took a sip of his beer. I wasn’t sure if Buddhists were allowed to drink but obviously they can. Eventually he raised himself and began to mingle with the others, recounting the many spiritual places he had visited. If I had to guess, I’d say he’d be on a mountain top, or a big hill right now thinking about peace in the world.
Some people say that tourist areas pander to the West’s belief in the ‘Spiritual East’ by charging a fortune for the yoga courses and loose ¾ pants. I’d say those pants would be three times the price back in England.
These naysayers claim that the East, although coated with a deeply spiritual history is every bit as materialistic as the West. Some cite the fact that Korea is the second largest consumer of plastic surgery in the world, or that East Asian countries are plagued with racism rather than being accepting and all-loving.
Many go as far as to say that the differences between the East and the West are small and getting smaller due to globalisation. Apparently homogenisation will reign throughout the world, thanks to pop culture and advertising.
I say, what about the bloke on the boat in the lotus position? And all of the people in 3/4 pants with long hair? They can’t just be buying into a dream, can they? I may only be at level 5 on the 10 point scale but I’ll find my wisdom somewhere, that much is for sure.
End of original article –
I haven’t found my wisdom yet.
Today’s photo – les Jardins de Marqueyssac
The 400 year old gardens and Chateau of Marqueyssac are situated on top of a hill. After weaving around the beautifully shaped hedges, you can take a seat on one of the benches that looks over the stunning Dordogne valley. Beynac castle, sits on the hill opposite and makes for stunning viewing.
This image was processed in Photomatix, and then tidied up in Photoshop. I used the brilliance/warmth filter in Color Efex to increase the golden hues, and applied dodge and burn throughout the hedges to give it greater contrast.
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