Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How would Leonard Cohen have written about this moment?

Something to the effect of, "When the light had abandoned them they shared small white candles to brighten their way. And their goods glowed with brilliance of something I just couldn't say."

So I was walking down this street market in Luang Prabang, Laos on holiday with Julian. He was sleeping at the hostel and I was looking for a cheap massage. This is the average street market in SE Asia. The kind where, in Bangkok, I get sick and tired of the same cheap stuff being sold stall by stall. But in Laos, on holiday, I can't get enough.

The electricity had gone out on the street, as it does in a third-world communist country. And all of the street vendors began distributing small white candles to each other, just as the night was going from dusk to total darkness. And almost instantly the market started to glow. And all of the brightly embroidered bags and scarves lit up. And immediately it changed from a market to a what looked like a holy place. It felt like a holy place.
Julian and I were talking the other day of how we experience something so beautiful. Since I experience things through a religious, spiritual
lens, and he doesn't. After all, in the past few days we have seen stories-high waterfalls pouring into turquoise-clear water, suttees behind limestone cliffs, full moons glowing orange over old French colonial architecture, lit up ancient wats, dark caves and misty rivers.

But that's not what we're here to talk about.

We're talking about street markets… I think.

The point is, after seeing all those incredible things, I was most in awe of this glowing street market and the people handing candles to one another.

So how do I experience it when I see something so incredible?

Gratitude. Just utter gratefulness that I get to be there to see it and that I have the capacity to experience it.

So thanks.

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