16 January 2008

Phitsanulok 8 JUNE 1999

I WAS AGAIN IN PHITSANULOK ON 3 JANUARY 2008 FEELING HOT, TRAVEL WEARY AND DISINTERESTED IN THE TOWN. THE FOLLOWING OLD JOURNAL ENTRY SHOWS HOW ONE'S CONNECTION TO A PLACE CAN BE DIFFERENT OVER THE PASSING YEARS: "...The morning wake up call at four thirty was most unwelcome. Two roosters were sparring and crowing, so it was prudent to move hotels. We are now in the centre of town, being the only two guests on the fourth floor, with a huge rooftop balcony. The room is Spartan (with mattresses upon the floor) but is immaculately clean and brightly painted in white. The same cleaner has been sweeping the floor since the eighth hour and the wooden floorboards are literally sparkling.
The streets are becoming busier again since the afternoon rain; prior to that shopkeepers were slumped across their desks due to the heat. One woman was asleep amongst her produce. We wandered through the meat market, where pigs’ heads, looking anaemic and bloodless greeted us. They seemed to grin macabrely as we splashed through the muddy puddles. .
My visit to the Buddha casting factory was where I found her. She beamed a beautiful smile, her palms were prayer like and her head was adorned with a pointed “crown”, pointing skyward like a chedi. She was kneeling and the lead colour of her metallic skin hinted at weight and permanency. An ornate necklace, wide upon her shoulders was inscribed with lotus like designs. Kinnari is a princess representing celestial love and compassion. I did not know her name until today. Whenever I have seen her over the years, I have always felt a sense of calmness, perhaps a placation when I have been addled by the Asian confusion and pace of life. Only today did it feel correct to purchase this small figurine. I feel joyful at the thought of the Buddha like visage greeting me each morn. Aesthetically, I admire the symmetry and when seen in side profile, there is a balance or solidness. In her true form, she is a bird like figure from the waist down but the human form is more meditative for me..."
Postscript: To this very day, Kinnari is always to the right of me as I sleep at night

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