Nepal 31: The Power of Places

Alleyways in Ubud Bali

I lay in my room at the Hotel Snow Leopard, the light slowly dying, outside and in.

Pokhara, it seemed, also suffered frequent load-shedding.

Despite that surface similarity, I could already tell this was a different place than Kathmandu. For starters: it was quiet. After what had felt like a lonely eternity in the insanity of Kathmandu, it was nice to be able to hear myself think again.

Not that they were all welcome thoughts, as I’m sure you can imagine.

In Bali, I’d picked up the habit of meditating once a day to calm my thoughts. Once I’d lost my job, and got off the midnight shift, I took time every morning to go outside, to sit and think and give thanks. I’d even maintained my meditation practice throughout our time in Taipei – somehow finding a way to make it work in the tiny, damp apartment Holly and I had shared.

Hong Kong and Kathmandu had blown a hole straight through my practice. I’d tried to meditate once, in Kathmandu, but instead of calming things, sitting quietly had just intensified my emotional distress. Things had been black in Kathmandu. Here in Pokhara, I felt that blackness lifting.

I believe in the power of places.

You’ve heard me go on about airports and ceilings already. You know my tendency to fetishize places over people, even if you haven’t bothered to think about it. After all; I chose this place over a person. Or so she would say, I was sure, despite what had happened in Hong Kong.

I still wasn’t sure what had happened in Hong Kong.

Still. Something had pulled me here, to Nepal. That same something hadn’t wanted me rotting away in Kathmandu. It had brought me here, to this quiet town by the lake. In the shadow of the mountains, I could start to heal.

It was a stupid, romantic idea, I knew.

But I’ve always been a bit of a romantic.

I sat cross-legged in the middle of the floor, closed my eyes, and tried to meditate. I didn’t get there, but I felt a flicker. And that was something.

***

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3 thoughts on “Nepal 31: The Power of Places

  1. “The Power of Places” …. I understand this on a level I can’t really explain in words. I truly wish I could afford to build my own house on my father’s property. I don’t know maybe if I did have the money he would allow me to purchase a plot to build on. But I don’t, so instead I have to take comfort in spending ridiculous amounts of time there – either as a guest or as a housemate. And no, it’s not my parents that does it for me. There is a clearing out in the back woods. Knowing my father he’d tell me it’s a terrible spot for a house. Maybe it is. I don’t build houses. 😉

  2. “I believe in the power of places.”

    Yeah.

    A place absorbs what we feel when we are there and it is mixed with all of the other essences already present. And then that new, perfectly unique blend is released back out as if an echo.

    This continues, infinitely; ever changing; irresitably collecting from all of our senses and reissuing them in an unending symphony of nuance that we feel in all the ways we can. And like water over a falls – one drop flows by and is replaced by another in a space of time that is too little for us to measure. And so many instances of just that one, single action occur that even this tiny recurring event is unimaginably large in its scope.

    And then we look away and sip our coffee and think about our day, in that particular place, not appreciating the impossible wonders and the enormity and the complexity that exists all around us and in us and of us and without our bidding.

    And now I had better go back to sleep!

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