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We've been named as a official selection in the Southern Circuit of Filmmakers Tour, March 17-24.

Shows are in Hapeville, GA 3/17, Madison, GA 3/20, Orangeburg, SC 3/22, Gainsville, GA 3/23, and Manteo, NC 3/24.
Learn more by going to the SouthArts blog.

View the theatrical trailer for A Gift for the Village

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wild Pre-Dawn Parties, from Jane, August 9th

Hi Friends, Not one of our bodies has caught up to Eastern Standard Time. No wonder. We hurtle at 36,000 feet for 15 hours over Russia, and then Poland, and finally Greenland, and Canada, and then cross into American air space, and stagger into a line of New Jersey Customs Officers at 4:30 a.m., who ask, Have you been on a farm? No, I answer, but my mind thinks, The whole of western Nepal is a farm, and the luckier parts of the Kathmandu Valley as well, though Sushma Joshi is right that the Valley's rivers are choking on plastic. I have been within spitting distance of yaks and monkeys, water buffalo and black cobras, rabid dogs and yarchen gonpo (the fabled summer grass/winter worm--or is it the other way around?--the seemingly dual plant/animal that Tibetans drop into their moonshine).

Next question: Was I there, in Nepal, on business? No, I answer again, but if you want to talk about spiritual profits, then yes. Am I carrying any food into the country? I 'fess up. Yes, I stammer, and unzip my luggage to show my plastic-sealed Haldiram's bhujia. "That's okay," he concedes, but he misses by thousands of miles. A bag of bhujia is the life of my pre-dawn parties since I've been back. Awake at 4 a.m.? No problem. Put on the kettle to make my first cups of Darjeeling tea, and unzip the bhujia. It's called Indian and Nepali junk food, but please: its crunchy vermicelli-tiny bits of chick pea flour squiggle, with salt and chili powder. If Paul Simon had traveled to Nepal, he would have written the song about Bhujia instead of Kodachrome. Same tune, and same refrain: Please don't take my bhujia away. Bhujia is what Jenna and I took to the Ambassador and his wife when we went for dinner on our final night in Nepal. Jenna defended our choice as we handed over a giant bag of bhujia. "No," the Ambassador intervened. "This stuff is great."

So now (this is my wild pre-dawn party) I sit in a house full of cats and paintings and objects collected since my first travels to south Asia in 1985. I walk around the yard (even before it is light outside--I want to hear the shy wood thrushes). Tall phlox is the flower of the week, taller than I am, with clusters of Pepto Bismol pink and lavender-pink blossoms that look spectacular against my turquoise house. Their perfume is like a sweet black pepper, especially in the dark.

On my lap is Mary, my oldest cat, who lived through a horrible injury just before I traveled in June, and who had to have stints and antibiotics while I was away. Only because my friends Jessica and Barbara Vance and Marlene Benson, who care for the cats while I am away--only because these women have absolute compassion for life--could my old friend Mary live for us to sit together again. Mary is not going to live long--she is skeletal. But her face and her eyes are bright. And she is purring.

I have just turned the calendar page to August. I have a great Frida Kahlo calendar, and this month, the painting is one of her zigzag cut watermelons, into one of whose drenched pink insides is written, Viva la vida. Long live life.

That's the motto for my wild pre-dawn parties from now on. Whenever I may have the chance again to travel and return, to be charged as I am now with the warp of circumscribing the planet, whenever, from now on, I feel home and far from home, Frida's invocation will be my banner. Long live life. And let's toast also (lift your cup of Darjeeling with mine) to what Buddha said: As you walk and eat and travel, be wherever you are; otherwise, you will miss most of your own life.

We DO miss Nepal already. Scott and Leija DeLisi, our new friends--what an inspiring last evening with you. We miss you. And all of our old friends, weeping with us at the airport, we miss you.

But let's see what new happinesses we can grow here, now, like a crop: what new paintings, and what other new reasons for wild pre-dawn parties like mine today, right now. Here are the seeds and the supplies I have: my family, my friends, my animals, my gardens, my woods, my students, my paintings, and one more unsiezed bag of bhujia. Viva la vida. Jane

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

welcome home!!! Laurie and I have followed with excitement all of the postings and all of the pix, gotten goose bumps with the descriptions of all the adventures, and been in total awe of all you have done...THANKS for taking Ashleigh with you!!! The qualityof the blog postings is almost beyond belief...they are so well written I would expect they would be a paper someone would have worked on for months,not something that could be written from an internet cafe//I am awed...and looking forward to the Taubman next month
xoxo docshep

Rom said...

Welcome back to home everyone. You made an outstandig journey at Nepal. Thank you so much for sharing those impressive events and photographs on this site.

Rom and Sarita

Scott said...

Just had some of the bhujia last night! It IS one of those life affirming foods...don't know why, it just is! Nepal misses you and Jenna. Leija and I are certainly richer for having had the chance to start a wonderful new friendship. cheers,

Scott