Quietly They Toil~ Yunnan

The tug go venture into new territory~ YunnanTobacco road~ Yunnanthe strong backbone of the working man~ Yunnanthe loads we carry~ Yunnanspinning tales over gernerations~ Yunnanfield of dreams~ YunnanFarmer in the fog~ Yunnan

For some of us here on earth, the day begins and ends with physical work, and that brings a simple satisfaction of a hard-earned existence. Every working face I saw during my travels in Yunnan was always ready to break into an unapologizing smile; they possessed a contentment that can be forgotten to us in our boxed offices and multiple screens facing us every waking moment. They commune with nature, the wind, the elements, the land and that rewards them with a sense of belonging. They remember that they are earth dwellers and that simple truth is their fountain of wisdom.

Day 21~ November 21st~ New York

on the move

We seem to go through our days without ever being aware of the most common fact of life: we are living on a sphere which is zipping in space at a staggering speed of 67000 miles/hour and spinning around its axis simultaneously at a speed of about 1000 miles/hour. And somehow all this is engineered in such a way that we feel no movement at all. The most awe inspiring of life’s mysteries are the simplest ones.

 

Day 26~ October 26th~ Yunnan

a generous smile~ Yunnan

Have you ever noticed how we walk sometimes in the cities with small clouds hanging around our heads, that the shine of our smiles has a very hard time breaking through? We move as though we are troubled by so many invisible phantoms that prevent us from responding humanly to others that pass us by. But when we meet simple people in simple places, there is just us, them and their reaction. Most often it is a big generous smile that glows and its warmth is able to reach us and force a mutual reaction from our faces. And it does feel so good to exchange these smiles with the people of the world where no words are necessary.

Day 8~ May 8th~ Cambodia

the boat lady with the straw hat

I was riding a boat on the waters of the Tonle Sap around sunset. The sun was shining a very bright gold and there was light breeze that gently toyed with the surface of the water. It felt as though I was transported to a strange future, a post natural disaster of some sorts, where all around me were stilts, make shift floating homes and boats, humans in rags smiling wistfully and surviving with the bare minimum. Then I felt a face gazing at me from a boat passing nearby, and there was this lady with her beautiful kind face and her warm smile. She allowed me to keep her radiance and to share it with you.

Day 10~ March 10th~ Egypt

her smile~ Nubian desert~ Egypt

When ‘joy’ is able to attend you, life takes on a brilliant glow…

Imagine these simple moments of connection, when meeting some stranger’s eyes can cause you and them both to overflow with joy, with a contentment and a knowing that all is well and a great unexplainable happiness is present at the thought of meeting another human.

Joy, so difficult to come by in our day to day lives today, but so abundant in those places where people choose to live a simple and uncluttered life.

Even after 15 years, I can remember this face that glowed and radiated while the lady was trying patiently to tame her daughter’s unruly hair in a desert settlement in Nubia.

Day 11~ February 11~ Lebanon

kind innocence

Lebanese people are known to travel the world, perhaps having something to do with their Phoenician ancestry. But as with any other country, there are the few who are left behind to guard the innocence. I mean the kind of innocence that is so endearing it borders and utter kindness.

This is the kind of old man who would ask you where you are coming from assuming from you camera that you must be a tourist, otherwise why would you want to photograph a stupid vegetable stall. And then you answer, something like Shanghai, and he then goes on to ask you if you know so and so who is married to so and so, whose friend travelled to China, and did you happen to meet them there? It is so lovely to meet people like this, where simplicity is a joy, and life is uncomplicated, basic, uncluttered with too much information.

Eyes like these are much more easily brought to glow of wonder.

Day Two Hundred Seventy Four, October 23, 2011

man, boat and river

Yes life can be that simple.

No emails to answer, no phone calls to return, no papers to shuffle, no office politics to deal with, no new system software to wrap your mind around… imagine, a field of floating grass, a stick to pick it up with, a boat to load it on, a pile to make from it, and repeat, all day, till your work is done…

I can almost feel his peace of mind.