It takes three hours to get to Bangkok on a day when there is traffic. Today was one of those days. The majority of the time sleep takes over. But this morning I was excited about something. I tried hard to allow sleep to do its job. But every new song motivated some new emotion to be stirred and every sight I saw outside the windows intrigued me.
We are on a highway. Out the left window there is a very dark man with no shirt on and wearing a large rimmed straw hat, waist deep in water. He is surrounded by green plants and lily pads with those salient pink flowers in bloom creating a beautiful image rather than just an intriguing one. Surrounding this island of nature is the highway to and from Bangkok. This man was in the middle of two worlds, rudimentary nature, and progressive mechanization. I wondered what it was like to see the progress of technology slowly seeping into one’s culture, slowly focusing more on progress and advancement and less on tradition and beliefs. I find myself yearning for a distinct culture and custom and for a brief moment I resent my life filled with technology and progress and having people thinking of McDonalds and movie stars when they think of the country I call my home.
“Write what you see,” he says handing me a pencil and some paper. I will always remember that face with those large square framed glasses and those eyes that exposed his soul so readily. He had a beard that had gone gray and a genuine smile. He was born in America but had adopted Italy as his country of belonging. His creative and passionate being was one that belonged all to him, however. He was not going to give his heritage the credit for his genius. I took the pencil and paper and wrote what I saw. It turned into a poem that was obviously written by a 12 year old, but one that desperately wanted to have the same creative spark as her grandfather. He read the title out loud, “Boy How Hard The Wind Can Blow,” and smiled a huge smile and gave me an honest compliment.
The van has passed the man in the middle of two worlds and now my eyes are glued on the intermittent trees swaying in the wind. My eyes begin to fill with my salty tears. While I don’t mind the intensity of the emotion I am feeling, for I have taken after my grandfather’s passion and feel often, I think about the reaction of the others on the van. For their sakes I hold my emotion for my grandfather intimately in my heart, and begin to think about the present adventure.