Going east to get West.
21 Oct 1998 18:27:43 -0700
International Airport, Narita; Japan :: WE 21 OCT 98
Rain pummels the watery coating of every surface in sight, streaks
glance off the window while rain-geared mechanics and staff clamber uncomfortably
over the behemoth jets, looking like patients in an intensive care ward
with all the umbelical lines and blinking machinery crowded close to the
The rain. An omen. Vancouver. The Wet Coast. And perhaps a metaphor.
Since departing Hong Kong earlier this morning, I've been poring
over copies of Newsweek and The Economist, trying to osmose the Western
perspective on the events of the past half year. News of the world, particularly
since departing Xian in July, has been sparse as the desert rains. It's
a little overwhelming. The planet seems a less stable place than before
I ducked behind Beijing's gauzy veil. Less stable, and more absurd: President's,
assistants and cigars.
The last four days of my ride to Kashgar were a small torture.
Each day of the desert crossing a count-down mantra. "Three days to Kashgar...three
days to Kashgar...." Then, "Two days to Kashgar...Two Days to Kashgar...."
and, finally, "Downhill to Kashgar...Downhill to Kashgar..." Now, in the
familiar rain which could be Vancouver's, in the morose drizzle of disturbing
news, I am already nostalgic for the remote desert, and the small villages
and cities where rain rarely falls and sexual proclivities of the world's
most powerful man do not matter.
It is a nostalgia based upon experience of returning from past
journeys. Given the ubiquity of my country's media, and the devotion of
my culture to endlessly repeating and restaging its reports, I will be
no better able to shelter myself from the disheartening reality this media
creates than the poor sods trudging through the miserable rain here in
Narita. Again, I will be drawn in, as if it all really matters.
Or have I finally learned something?
He who is in harmony with the Tao
is like a newborn child.
Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak,
but its grip is powerful.
It doesn't know about the union
of male and female,
yet its penis can stand erect,
so intense is its vital power.
It can scream its head off all day,
yet it never becomes hoarse,
so complete is its harmony.
The Master's power is like this.
He lets all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expects results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed;
thus his spirit never grows old.