Train from Mandalay – Yangon


August 23rd

The train.  Left at 5:30 in the morning.  I’ve never seen so much rice in my life.  Beautiful sprawling lime green fields of rice, workers harvesting, front porch sitting in their one or two room huts, buffalo herding, ducks and chickens and pigs, miles of sugar cane, papaya, sunflowers, betel nut trees, lotus flowers (which I later ate in a soup), and corn.  It struck me how deeply connected they must feel – how the international does not matter because it is the community here where they can interact, participate, join, teach, explain, experience.  They share stories and surroundings, common ground and common sense.  And common goals – to survive, to live to express, to find the meaning of living one step at a time.


I wrote this on the train:

I understand now Po Po’s rice terrace

Mrat’s brick, flour and milk

Htoo’s poetry

Ko Jeu’s sound

Ko Z’s nature

Nyein Way’s voice

Phyu Mon’s cage

Aung Myeint’s maps

NCS’ Nats

Nge Lay’s family

Aung Ko’s ladders

Tha Di Htarr’s tattoos

Pann Che’s audience

Zoncy’s pain

Aye Ko’s red

Thwe Thwe’s desire

What are they looking for? Freedom? Intention? Spirituality? Simplicity and complexity in thought?

They are so passionate, emotional, they feel the burden of their people, their plight, the land so acutely and how do they manifest it? Art – any art – all art, all the time.  Without it they would be empty shell people, half awake half dead.

They’re dreaming now, releasing, intending and patenting every move because it is so uniquely theirs.  They own this, this feeling, this form, this life that is all difficulty, pain, strife through execution.


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