Balance


My 22-year-old daughter, Melissa, is in Phenom Pehn, the capital of Cambodia, where she will begin teaching English on Monday.  She is an adventurous soul with a beautiful  heart and an eye for the details about life and people that make for good writing and good living.   She’s also taking gorgeous photos of this place on the other side of the earth, where paved roads turn to yellow mud and luxurious houses shrink to shacks as you walk away from the city center.

Below is a link to her blog.  You can follow her directly, or you can read my feeds: I will be posting her blogs regularly.  This one features children selling souvenirs on the the beach…instead of going to school….and a wrenching insight into the unfortunate souvenir Melissa brought home from the coast.

How about YOU? Where have you ventured lately?

Sihanoukville.

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Day 351

It was a holiday weekend. I hope you all had a wonderful time.

Me? I was lucky enough to be with my family — sister and nephews included — in a cabin along the Hudson River. We were overlooking a marina. At night we heard the gentle music of the rocking boats and clanging halyards, and saw a tapestry of constellations in the deep summer sky.

Sunday morning Frank and I went out for our big walk along the craggy riverbank. It was absolutely peaceful and quiet. The hawks were circling the treetops in the distance, and the river current appeared to be running north toward the river’s origin even though we knew that all rivers pour toward the equator. Frank and I came to a bend in the Hudson where we could see in both directions. A monastery was nestled on the opposite shore but otherwise there was nothing on the horizon.

We’d already been walking for some time. I had my camera on my shoulder. We stopped on a windswept ledge above a tree that had grown strong and beautiful as it reached toward the sun even as it clung to the shore. I took a deep breath. Everything felt perfect — in motion, and at rest. Rugged, and beautiful.

“Don’t you wish you could stand here forever and forget everything that’s ever happened to you?” I asked. “Forget everything good, everything sad, everything that you’ve ever felt. Don’t you wish you could just be here and not think about anything?”

Frank looked down at the river. He looked at the twisted branch. He looked at me.

“Not really,” he said.

“No?”

I looked down at the ground where we were standing. It seemed like we’d found a lovely pocket of beauty and solitude. A place where we could stand in one place and be happy about it.

“Forget everything — like  who am I? where am I? How’d I get here, where am I going next?”

I was starting to see his point.

“No thanks,” Frank said. “I’ve had a concussion like that, and it wasn’t any fun.”

We laughed together, and he took my hand, and he led me from the windswept ledge. By the time we got back to our camp the coffee was ready. And I was damn glad to have it.